Sunday, May 10, 2009


I woke up this morning to the gentle stroking of little hands on my arm. As I fought to gain consciousness, I became aware of the tantalizing scent of bacon. I scrubbed sleep away from my eyes, and was greeted by Snapper's sparkling eyes and giant smile. Her front teeth are super loose, so the smile is kind of funky right now. Click! Saved that one to my forever memory! My little sweetie got up early with Daddy to prepare strawberry muffins, scrambled eggs, and bacon, along with Constant Comment tea (my favorite) for Mother's Day breakfast. This breakfast was served to me in bed. The kids also gave me flowers and a sweet card. I'll swallow my pride and post the picture here, even though I'm in all my early-morning glory. Pepper is absent from the picture because he could not be coaxed out of bed. We couldn't even wake him up! Apparently he was really tired. Anyway, I greatly appreciated Snapper's thought, and her obvious delight in serving me. The sweetness is what I cherish most on Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is kind of complicated for me. It's complicated in a good way. Mostly good, anyway. It is complicated because not only do I celebrate being a mom, I celebrate my 4 mothers. That's right, 4 mothers.

My first mother is my birthmom, Sherry. At the tender age of 22, she found herself pregnant, and very much unable to care for a baby. She endured the months of pregnancy with the knowledge that she would not mother her baby. When I was born, she spent several hours holding and cuddling me, against the advice of her doctors. Then she said a very painful goodbye to me, not knowing if she'd ever see me again. My Mama Sherry is my hero. She gave me life and walked the hardest road a mother can walk. When I was 20, we were reunited, and have shared a very close friendship ever since. She is Nana to Snapper and Pepper, and is one of my best friends.

Mama Sherry with my Mommy at my baby shower, August 2002

My second mother is my Mommy, Lotte. After walking through infertility, she said goodbye to her dream of becoming a mother. Then God saw fit to give me to her through adoption. My sister Jenny followed in the same manner 3 1/2 years later. Mommy is the mother who raised me. She nurtured me, taught me, introduced me to Jesus, disciplined me, loved me unconditionally, cherished me, and made me into the woman I am today. My sweet Mommy lost her battle with ovarian cancer 6 years ago this week. Not a day has passed that I haven't thought of her and missed her. She was Grammy to Snapper for 8 months, and will always be Grammy in our memories.

Mommy with my sis and me, 1986

My third mother came to me through my husband. She is my mother-in-law, Lia. I call her Mom because she is like a mom to me. Because she and my Mommy were friends since they were in 7th grade, Lia has known me since I was born. During childhood our families were so close that I called her Auntie. It was very easy to make the transition to mother-in-law when Matt and I got married 8 years ago. Today she is MIL: Mother-In-Love. I love her dearly. MIL is Grandma to my kiddos.

MIL with Snapper and Pepper, July 2008

My fourth mother is the newest addition to my pack of moms. She is my step-mom, Nancy. Nancy and my dad got married 18 months after my mom passed away. And let me tell you, my dad and Nancy are a match made in heaven. In the past 5 years that Nancy has been in my life, I have come to love her like a mother. I can talk about anything with her, and know that I have her love, encouragement, and support. She is Gramma Salty to the kids, and is a fantastic Gramma. I need to figure out a better title for Nancy. Step-mom sounds so sterile, and anyway, she's way more than that to me.

My family on Dad and Nancy's wedding day, 2004

So can you see why Mother's Day is so complicated? I can't even begin to describe the range of emotions I have experienced today. First, there's the rush of thankfulness that I am so blessed to have had 4 women in the mother role in my life. Then comes the wave of pain and grief when I mourn my mom. My sorest regret in life is that Snapper and Pepper will not know my mom. There's no more to say. I just miss my Mommy. Then comes the amazement at the incredible woman who does know my children, and pours herself into them. Nancy, I love you. Finally comes wonder--the wonder of being a mom. Snapper and Pepper are such gifts, and I am blessed to be their mother. I am also Mommy to 4 little ones in Heaven. So my mom does know grandchildren! Sigh.

As today is Mother's Day, I'm posting several pictures. These pictures are in memory of my Mommy, the single most important woman in my life.

I want to close this blog with a big huge thank you to Mama Sherry, Mommy Lotte, MIL Lia, and Nancy (who needs a better title). I love all four of you and am thankful for the ways each of you have invested in my life.

Riding together in our neighborhood, 1980

Creek walking with Mommy, one of my favorite childhood pasttimes, 1982

Mother's Day 1985

My parents presenting an award to Matt at a homeschool awards ceremony. Little did they know he was their future son-in-law!

Chatting with Mommy at Loch Lomond in Scotland, 1998

Arriving at the church on my wedding day, 2001

Anticipating the imminent arrival of her first grandchild, 2002. This is my favorite picture ever taken of Mommy and me.

This is how she showed up at the hospital when I was in labor! Ha ha! Ever the sense of humor.

In the brief months she had with Snapper, she took her Grammy role very seriously.

My favorite picture of Grammy and Snapper, 2003

Three generation. This picture is so precious.


Lori said...

Those are such sweet pictures. How lucky you all are to have so many wonderful moms to celebrate today!!

RachelRuelas said...

wow... i don't know what to say. i rarley cry when i read someones blog... but this brought the tears to my eyes. Emily. I feel like I am right there with you, my heart aches for the loss of your mommmy... I cannot imagine life without my mom. But what a JOY it is the God sought to give you not only one mom, but FOUR! And oh what a joy it is for S and P to have you as their Mom... You are one of the best mothers I've ever known. God bless you this day. You appreciate all the blessings in the world.
Love you!
Rachel Ruelas

Stef said...

Em, you have a way of making my heart melt at such unexpected times. I loved this post. You have such an awesome and Christ centered attitude when it comes to your birth Mom and then in being adopted. Both women were heros. I loved reading this and I love walking down memory lane and seeing these pictures of you, with your Mom, Lotte. You are a blessed woman!

The Yorks said...

Wonderful post Em. So beautiful. Wonder if Nancy would mind being called Nanny (or if you like it)? It's like her name, but she does have the role of a nanny in a sense, loving, nurturing, though she may not have been the primary caregiver (i.e. the "mom") nannies love their children so much!!! And they have the same duties too. :)

Tom and Laura said...

What a tremendous tribute to the moms that have poured into your life! You have a wonderful gift of seeing God's work in and through your life. You are a blessing, and I know the love that has been poured into your life will overflow into the lives of your own precious children.