XI. Mother’s Day is For All the Women Who Do Hard Things

I have low expectations for Mother’s Day every year. It’s not that I don’t love my mother and mother-in-law, and all the women who have raised me up and influenced me. I absolutely do love and appreciate them.

It’s just that my experience as a mother has, in many ways, been such a cluster cuss.

I love my sons, in their various incarnations. They have strengths and gifts that amaze me. But success as a mother in my circumstance feels elusive.

For thirteen years, I have not been able to do enough or be enough for Jack. In a general sense, I’m sure God sees me as enough of a mom, but the reality is that I really can’t fix anything. I have only been able to hold on, overseeing Jack’s medical & psychological care, education, sensory integration needs, and behavior therapy.

With Jeff’s help, I’ve facilitated Jack living in our home for thirteen years.

For the past few months, I’ve been feeling like there is no way to win in this scenario. We are losing, in every sense, with Jack at home. Now, this very week, he is entering residential care (see *ten* previous posts—not hyperbole, for real). While it’s necessary, it doesn’t feel like a success story.

There are no winners here.

And yet, as I drove the boys to my parents’ house Saturday afternoon so Henry could mow their lawn, I contemplated Mother’s Day, and clearly unearthed this insight:

Mother’s Day is to celebrate women who labor in all sorts of impossible situations.

It’s not about the cultural ideal of the curated Instagram mom who exudes glossy perfection. It’s not about the mother we wish we were. It’s about appreciating the real work that real mothers everywhere do.

It’s about valuing what I have done for Jack these thirteen difficult years.

It feels like I have shed a skin. I’ve sloughed off my old Mother’s Day lassitude. It’s energizing to think of these long years of serving Jack not as a failed experiment—a plodding, inevitable, doomed trajectory.

Instead I can see this season, when I was able to care for Jack in our home, as a baker’s dozen years—a consecrated time of serving, suffering, and growing.

I’m thankful all my boys got to live here with Jeff and me for a time.

I’m thankful Jack has a place to go so we can all be safe and keep functioning.

I’m thankful we are connected as a family by eternal bonds.

I’m thankful to be Jack’s mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to me.

Happy Mother’s Day to Shirley, Joyce, and Grandma Snow.

Happy Mother’s Day to the women in heaven who went before me and loved me: Grandma Goates, Beverly, Grandma Wilcox, Colleen, and Grandma Lila.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who do hard things, who keep going, loving, and hoping, despite the sorrows and disappointments of mortality.


*yiddle me and my mom (babe), circa 1979

  16 comments for “XI. Mother’s Day is For All the Women Who Do Hard Things

  1. Angela Michelle
    May 14, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Happy, happy Morher’s Day to you, strong mama ❤️❤️

  2. Julie M
    May 14, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Thank you, Megan, for all these very good and very important posts. Your love and devotion and hope and joy and pure charity for Jack is so strong that it emanates through the little pixels on an electronic screen–and I have come to love him, too. Thanks for sharing the hard things with us.

  3. Talia
    May 14, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Yes I read all ten previous entries and you are such an example to me of trusting in the Lord! Thank you for sharing your family’s journey, because even though I do not have the same trials as you, I learn so much from your strength through adversity. Happy Mother’s Day Megan!

  4. Pam
    May 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

    You are amazing. Please know that. Your strength, knowledge, and relationship with The Savior are so truly amazing. I am glad to be a small part of your life and to see you and your strength in person each week. Much love to your whole family during this very turbulent storm…

  5. Deb Allred
    May 14, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I am in awe. In awe of what you have endured, what you continue to endure, and how you do it. In awe of the woman and mother you are. In awe of your courage and strength. In awe of how you express your soul with raw eloquence in such a way that causes me not only to weep but to change. Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. May 14, 2017 at 10:58 am

    One of these days, mama, you and I have to get together in person and laugh and cry and scream and laugh some more about these crazy lives we live. Our challenges are so different, but they stretch both of us to our very limits, and sometimes beyond. Thank you so much for being real, and giving me the permission to be real, too. Love you.

  7. Blue
    May 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    These ten posts were the highlight of my Mother’s Day morning. Such insight, faith, wisdom, and love wrapped up in the most exquisitely beautiful package of my dear, fiery-haired, light-filled, guileless friend. Thank you, Megan. I love you!

  8. May 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Oh Megan, I just spent like 10 minutes trying to craft some super-comment that would somehow match the beauty, vunerability, heartbreak and love of everything I just read, but I can’t. So I delted that crap and will just try to speak from my heart. I am so sorry to hear about this developement. I admit that at first I was breathing a sigh of relief for you and your family, but the more I read the more I started to understand the heartbreak and the heartwrenching situation this is. I am so glad you have had so many clear affirmations from Heaven that this is the next right thing, but as you said… that doesn’t make it any easier. I’m so sorry. I hope your transition period won’t be too terribly rocky and that eventually all the wrinkles will start to smooth out. You are such a great example to me in the arena of motherhood. I read through some of those KSL comments and wow… it’s one thing to not understand, but it’s another to not understand that you don’t understand. Megan those people don’t understand that they don’t understand. I am so grateful to you for sharing all you share and for the exemplary example of motherhood you are. Motherhood is hard enough for those of us with some idea of the road we’re walking–the trailheads clearly marked, the detours, the pitstops. That has not been the road you’ve been placed on…your journey is probably more like (forgive the metaphor I’m about to make here) that crazy reality show “Naked and Afraid.” You’re in an utterly remote jungle with few tools of survival and with no one to show you the way and somehow you’ve survived again and again and again. Oh geeze…now I’m really saying some stupid stuff, but I just think the world of you. You are such a wonderful mother and I hope some day we have the chance to eat chocolate and talk about all this crazy stuff in real life. XO

  9. Sarah
    May 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    As you know, I’ve made an impossible decision that the Spirit told me was right. It was the awful, beautiful, peaceful, unimaginable choice. It changed me. I’m glad you’ve kept writing, and that you shared it all because it resonates with readers in many different circumstances. I’m glad I know you, my friend.

  10. Heather
    May 15, 2017 at 7:28 am

    We do not know each other but I have admired you from afar for several months. I love your writing, and more importantly, your strength and faith in Jesus. I have found encouragement by reading your blog, I’m a new mother of one and still completely overwhelmed by it–our circumstances are different but I sincerely appreciate you sharing your journey and hard-earned insights with us. Sending prayers, love, admiration, and hugs from Virginia.

  11. molly
    May 15, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I can’t imagine what you are going through. You are so strong and trusting in the Lord. I want to live as close to the spirit as you do. what an amazing example you are to me of how to be a mother. hugs, strength, love. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  12. Allysha
    May 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    xoxoxo to you, and to Jack and all of your family

  13. May 16, 2017 at 12:22 am

    The image of Jack sitting in the yard, happily playing with his train… Thank you for sharing your emotional upheaval. I will continue my prayers for you. Love you!

  14. May 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    It took me a couple of days to start reading this (because with your lead up I assumed it would be really emotional). I can see why God would be prompting you to share- I have appreciated and valued your thoughts/writing on both your spiritual journey and your mothering, as I’m sure have many others. Good luck with this life transition- love and prayers your way, for you Jack, and the whole family.

  15. Carol R.
    May 17, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Megan, you are going to be okay. I promise you that. I remember when my son first went to a residential facility. It was in Provo and we lived in Bountiful. I truly thought I was going to have a breakdown and I probably did on some level. I cried when we arrived and I cried all the way back to Bountiful. Over time though, the crying stopped and I began to see milestones he was reaching and was so proud of him and the wonderful people caring for him. I missed my son terribly. As I said before in one of my comments, you realize that in order for him and the rest of the family to grow, you have to let go. There are others, more skilled to care for Jack and provide for him the learning tools he needs. You will always be his Mama and you will always love him as no one else can. People will come into your life that will amaze you as they care for him and you will see the selfless service from others given to Jack. Don’t worry about the judgements of others. You are right, they have not walked in your shoes. I love your writing and through you, I relive my own experiences with a special needs son. My son is 35 now. I can’t believe it really. He’s an awesome person and he is cared for by wonderful people who accept him for him and help him every day to succeed. You’ll see that begin happening with Jack. Just wait. Best of luck to you always. I look forward to reading your blog.

  16. Melanie
    May 17, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Read your posts this afternoon, thought about it the rest of the day, felt emotional every time. You are a true example of faith and trust in the Lord. I hope that you feel strengthened and supported through the prayers of your friends and family and also so many others, who have never met you, but who care. So much love in everything you wrote. Thank you for all the beautiful insights and lessons. You were meant to be Jack’s mom and that will never change.

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