Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day, Schmather's Day...

I'm not extremely celebratory when it comes to holidays and birthdays. I'm far from being the Grinch, but I'm definitely not offended by not receiving gifts, or by someone forgetting to wish me a Happy "This" or a Merry "That". I'm chill when it comes to all that. I understand, however, that there are people in my life who view holidays and birthdays through a different lens. Receiving gifts and hearing Happy "This" or Merry "That" is important to them. My biological father, for instance, is one. He likes to know that he's not forgotten on specially marked days on the calendar, so I make it my business to call him.

Especially on Father's Day.

Throughout the years, God has shown me that I can feel how I feel and maintain my personal convictions while still extending love to others in the way they understand and receive it. So, even though I could've gone all day without saying a word, I didn't. I made sure my first phone call today was to him. He beamed with excitement! I didn't even have much else to say beyond Happy Father's Day. Sure, we had our usual conversation about what's going on and how we're doing, but because we talk often enough, and in this case, not too long before today's call, saying Happy Father's Day was just a formality.

Then, still out of formality, I called my stepfather, the one who raised me, and wished him a Happy Father's Day. He and I are pretty much the same with holidays. We can, or we can't and we'll still be fine. He was grateful that I'd taken the time to call and talk to him, but our relationship is so much more than just today that our conversation was pretty blasé.

The whole time I was in those conversations with my dads, all I could think about was how badly I wanted to talk to my mom. And I didn't want to talk to her because I wanted to acknowledge her as "the father" in my life. I definitely ain't 'bout that foolishness (ebonics and all)! I have TWO dads, for crying out loud! I wanted to talk to her because for the past few days, the Lord had been stirring up some words in my heart for me to share with her. I would've probably been calling her in the next few hours anyway, so when I finished my short talk with my stepdad, I asked him to pass the phone to my mom. I had to give her the Hallmark card that the Lord had written on my heart, regardless of it being "Father's Day".

You see, lately, I've been pretty heartbroken as a mentor. I've been experiencing the pain that comes with "mothering" and loving someone so deeply and wanting the best for them so much that it hurts. It hurts a mother when her children make wrong choices. It hurts when they get their hearts broken. It hurts when they're in tough situations that they can't be rescued from. It just hurts. And the most recent hurt for me has been learning that many of my girls have strained relationships with their mothers. They argue and fight with their mothers. They intentionally exclude their mothers from their lives; they don't want to have anything to do with them. They love their mothers, I know, but for whatever reason, at the same time, they can't stand them. And I have NO IDEA what that's like. I had to call my mom and thank her for me not knowing the ins and outs of this type of "love".

From the moment I stepped into true adulthood at the age of 23, with my own home, bills and responsibilities, I've been calling my mom and thanking her. Every now and then, the Lord would (and still does) show me how much she sacrificed for my siblings and me when we were growing up. He would show me something she said or did and remind me just how much those things are for me NOW.  In fact, it's for me more NOW than it was then. I've thanked her for so much over the years that I feel like she may be getting tired of hearing my many thanks, but when the Lord tells me to call her, I do, even if it is on "Father's Day".

Even as a teenager, when I didn't like everything my mother said, and when I didn't like that she punished me or took things away from me, I understood, as young as I was, that EVERYTHING she did was for my good. I never questioned it. There was something in me that knew if she was being hard on me (and she was), it was making me better. I never argued (because I would've died), and I never rebelled. I didn't like a lot of it, but I knew she loved me and I knew she was serious about making me responsible, dependable, respectful, and adaptable, among other things.

I called to thank my mom for being tough on me and for teaching me through EVERYTHING she said and did. I thanked her for making it so I would never know what it's like to hate her because her love wouldn't let it be so. I thanked her over and over again.

I had nothing profound to say to either of my dads. Not today. I didn't "prepare" for this holiday. Today, God gave me a word for my mama, and I wasn't shuttin' it off just cuz it's "Father's Day" or because I "should have" something special for my dads. The way the Lord works, I may have a word for both of my dads on "Mother's Day", and without question, regardless of what day the calendar says it is, I'll say what He tells me to say to whomever on whatever day. Shoooo...the way I see it, every day is "Father's and Mother's Day".  At least for me, today sure proved to be.