I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Voice and an Empty Space.

He looks up at me countless times throughout the day-  “Mommy, do you think that’s true?  Momma, guess what!?!  Momma, look at what I made!!!  Whoa, did you see what I did??!” 

 He’s always excited about life.  Whether it’s another fact he learns about the many animals he’s obsessed with, or another piece of history, or something else so gross it’s sure to make me squeal…..he lights up.  And his very next reaction is to seek out my opinion about what he is saying or doing.  Even when he’s pushing the boundaries, having a bad day and just trying to see how far he can get, his eyes will fix on me, awaiting my response. 

It scares me sometimes.

Because I get it.  He wants to be affirmed.  He wants to be acknowledged.  He wants to know he’s doing something good.  Or, he just wants to get into trouble….because sometimes even negative attention will do.  It’s so natural.  We crave that guidance, that affirmation, acknowledgement, from the ones we love the most.  It can come from anyone, but what means the most is when it comes from the ones we are closest to.  In this big, scary, uncertain world….we just want to know we have a voice…that our loved ones hear-really hear-us.

And here I am, a grown woman who still wonders if anyone hears me, yet I now have the privilege of giving this sweet boy of ours his own voice in this world.  Dear, Sweet, God…help me not to hinder the voice that comes out of this little one’s being.

Quite naturally, it reminds me of my Momma.  I am so very thankful she heard me.  (No, she wasn’t perfect.  Nobody is.  And when we try to strip our departed loved ones of their flaws, we do a disservice to all of us involved.  It strips them of the divine gift of their humanity.  She was created to be her, even in her flaws.)  But thankfully, so thankfully, she was an amazing Momma to my sister and me.  It’s because of that very fact that we miss her fiercely, bitterly, wholeheartedly.  She was our Momma.  She gave me my voice.  She pushed me to be me, and nobody else. 

I can’t speak for others, but one of the most difficult things in living with the grief of her being gone is that I often feel as if I need to apologize for my grief.  Whether it’s not convenient to someone else’s day to hear about it, or it has been “long enough”, or it’s me….I often make myself feel that way.  That needs to stop.  That is the complete opposite of love….to shut up the hurts of those around us.  How dare we do that! 
Today, our offspring had to write a paragraph about somebody very special to him.  He wrote about me.  It was the most adorable thing ever.  Yes, my eyes were teary.  What has been etched into my heart is the last sentence he wrote, “But what makes her special is that she’s my mom.”  That is one of the most fabulous sentences I’ve ever read.  Because what makes our relationship with our son so fantastic is just that-----he is our son.  We are his parents.  What a sacred, special, wonderful thing. 

And she, though now gone, was my Momma.  I am her daughter.  When I talk about missing her, when I talk about being angry that she isn’t here, that I am so very jealous of other young daughters who still have their mothers around, when I think of how she'll never meet the rest of the children my husband and I have, when I just want to curl up in a ball because I can’t find the words to express the deep, dark, gaping, empty space that now exists due to her absence…..that is what I mean.  Exactly what our sweet boy thinks of me, which means the world to me.  I am so thankful she gave me a voice.  I am so thankful I am her daughter.  I am so thankful I am a momma, just as she was.  I am so thankful I will see her again one day.  I am so thankful we had a bond that nobody else will ever replicate. 

But when it comes to her absence, it will always hurt like hell.  I can never apologize for that.

 “…What makes her special is that she’s my mom…”