Tackling a Mama Kat writing prompt today; one that is heavy on my heart and so fresh, even after almost 42 years, that it brings tears and a funky outlook on life. It's no secret to anyone who knows me or who reads my blog that Mother's Day is tough for me. As  mom, it's wonderful. Love isn't a big enough word to describe how I adore the handmade, unique and chock-full-of-innocent-love gifts that my kiddos spend a week working on. Yummy doesn't adequately describe the peanut butter and banana toast that Erin will 'surprise' me with for breakfast come Sunday morning. And to say that my three are the greatest loves of my life is like saying Carrie Bradshaw has a passing interest in shoes. In that respect, Mother's Day is glorious and perfect.

But as a daughter, it's not quite as lovely. I have a dad who stepped into the "mom" shoes long ago, and I count my blessings everyday for him. But Hallmark and TV commercials remind me a bit too often this time of year that others have Moms with whom they share special moments, past and present.  I don't.

I was feeling sorry for myself and thinking about it just a bit too much, when a wise friend reminded me that God wastes no hurts. She encouraged me to see the positives instead of the negatives. She spoke to me in a language that I understand, and reminded me that it's not just the good that forms us into who we are, but also the tough and sad lessons that we experience that are our most powerful lessons.

So today, I choose to say 'thank you' to that woman who brought me into this world. Without her, these three children who shine love and happiness into the lives of countless people wouldn't be here. Without her, my mothering 'compass' would lack direction. Without her, I doubt I'd see my own kids as the wonderful gifts they are or that I'd feel the fierce need to protect them.

I can't pretend to understand her world, but I can thank her for breathing life into one of my favorite prayers. Attributed to Mother Teresa, it's one that I try to teach my own kids through actions big and small. It's the one I repeat when I feel funky. It's one that I feel instead of just say, and I have her to thank for that.

What else have I learned? That kids take their cues from their parents, good AND bad, whether the parents realize it or not. That kids don't see that Mom is simply having a bad day; instead, they too often think 'she's having a bad day because of me'. That kids carry not only words and feelings but their perspective of a parent's words and actions–formed through an indefinable mix of words, interactions, overheard conversations and  countless other factors–with them not just when they're kids, but when they grow and raise their own.  

I've learned that we can't rewrite our past but we can influence the future. There is the power to turn it around, no matter what point we're at, and go down the path we choose instead of using the map someone else has passed along, if we'll just claim it. We can choose our way, our words, our outlook.

Thank you, Mom. 

    People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway. 

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.



(This is no Instagram filter, folks; just good ol' Polaroid)