Mother's Day Musings

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It's Mother's Day as I'm writing this. And instead of sitting at an after-church brunch accepting popsicle-stick art from my adoring and adorable children, as most women my age are doing today, I'm sitting poolside in San Antonio with three of my single girlfriends. Julie, the ringleader of this little get-away, found us a great airfare. That, combined with splitting our hotel room four ways, made this a perfect springtime escape from the erratic one-day-it's-spring, the-next-day-it's-fall weather in Chicago.

It's ironic that I'm even here. I was a last-minute fill-in when one of the original four the only married one in the bunch had to stay home because one of her kids got sick. In all my glorious singlegirl freedom, I was able to come with only one week's notice. I figured I could call my mom to wish her a happy mother's day just as easily from here as I could from home. I plan to call her later today from the Starbuck's on The Riverwalk while sipping a frappucino in her honor and people-watching, one of our favorite pastimes when together.

To be honest, I've ventured out to Starbuck's once already this morning to get something a little snazzier than the plain ol' coffee that's complimentary in our hotel's lobby. (This is vacation, after all a great excuse for fancy-schmancy coffee if there ever was one!) As I snuck there in a swimsuit-boxers-ballcap combo I still can't believe I donned in public, I passed several happy families kids hugging and holding hands with their mothers no doubt out celebrating Mother's Day.

These are the moments the little voice in the back of my head whispers, "Will I ever get the chance to be a mom?" Thankfully, for logistical reasons, my maternal urge at present is pretty non-existent. As much as I love kids, the thought of having one of my own makes me shudder right now. That would put a total snag in my love of leisurely trips to the local coffee shop to read the latest singlegirl novel, spontaneous song and dance sessions in my new solo apartment, and spur-of-the-moment vacations, such as this one. Sometimes I worry that my making the most of being single is making me unfit for wife and motherhood. Aren't "good Christian women" supposed to want to be mothers?

But in my occasional conversations with God about this, I've felt reassured that my mindset is okay for this stage of my life. I've just figured my motherhood urge will kick in someday when it's more appropriate and, hopefully, possible. That worry that becoming a mother won't ever be an option for me launches surprise attacks when I'm innocently admiring the magical smiles exchanged between moms and their children. Will I ever get to experience those kinds of magical moments? What if "someday" never comes? What if Prince Charming shows up after all my eggs are kaput? What if there isn't a Mr. Right in God's will for me? I look at my lounging vacation companions, who are all single and older than me and who would all make super moms and wonder if "someday" will ever come for them either. The chance that it might not seems so unfair.

And yet, who's to say what's truly fair? Is it fair that Sue, the mom whose place I took on this vacation, had to stay home with her sick kid? Is it fair that my mom is only now in her empty nest years able to enjoy the freedom to jet off on spur-of-the-moment vacations? (Though I'm still convincing her of her need to do this!) Is it fair that unwed teenagers get pregnant at an alarming rate, yet several of my married friends and family members wrestle with infertility? Is it fair that my friend Marty just buried her 25-year-old son, that her mothering years were cut off so prematurely? When you put our single questions in the context of all the fairness questions floating through people's heads and hearts, suddenly it doesn't seem so unbalanced. No one gets a guarantee. Magical moments aren't a given, but a tangible reminder of God's grace.

A mother and her cute little pink-dress-clad daughter have just wandered out to the pool area from the next-door dining room, where there's a lovely Mother's Day brunch going on. The girl points to the pool with toddler fascination, then turns back to her smiling mom. After a moment, the two silently join hands and venture back to their brunch the picture of mother-daughter bliss.

As they walk away, I look again at my traveling companions. Ruth is making her way to the hot tub. Julie turns another page in the novel she's reading. And Cathy's turning over on her lounge chair to even out her sun exposure. I'm sitting at a poolside table tapping away on my laptop computer with my legs propped in the sun. We're all the picture of singlegirl bliss.

For now the tough questions about the future and fairness can wait. I'm too busy making the most of the place God has me right now single and in San Antonio with The Girls. If motherhood is in my future, I'll make the most of that, too. One thing I do know is that God would have me run well whatever race he puts before me. The rest I have to leave up to him and trust to his greater plan and timetable.


Camerin Courtney
May 16, 2001

2002 Christianity Today. Used by permission.