Mother’s Day this time around was one I won’t soon forget, nestled in a hospital room with my Lucy, entrenched in the heat of mothering, trying my darnedest to harness my “inner-Linda”…the part of me that I search for often, that part of my mother who I hope runs through my veins. (She is the best at times like this! well, and at all other times as well…)

I had kind of planned on being in the hospital on Mother’s Day. Lucy had actually pointed that out before we left (she’s a keeper of days and dates like no one else). But I was a little sad that Lucy was still in the clutches of pain and misery. I was still wishing we could be at home.

But Mother’s Day is strange sometimes, don’t you think? Sometimes it’s the biggest time to ponder our worth as mothers…are we doing enough? Being enough? Stepping up enough? Stepping down enough? So in a way there was something comforting about being entrenched in full-scale mothering that Mother’s Day morning.

And doing a pretty good job (if I do say so myself) at keeping calm and collected under the wrath of Lucy when I didn’t get her pillow propped behind her head in the perfect way. Ha!

This was the day when Dave and the girls (and Bo Jangles), hyped Lucy up so much that she decided it was time to get up and get going (which I talked about back HERE). But before that, and after some serious morning wrangling with pain, we had some precious Mother’s Day time together.

The girls and Dave dropped off some pretty sweet things for us:

And some kind, generous, wonderful soul (or souls, probably), put together this gift bag for me (and I’m sure identical ones for all other mothers who were in the hospital with their kids that day):

Seriously, I was so overcome with how incredibly sweet that was…everything a mom would need while staying in a hospital room along with such a sweet note someone named Skylar probably had no idea how much it would mean to the mother her bag was handed to.

Lucy and I had been reading Harry Potter, my legs propped up at the end of her bed, her half-glazed over eyes calm and finally relaxed. And then I remembered an email my mom had sent with a tribute to her mother for Mother’s Day.

So I pulled that up on my computer and read it to Lucy. It involved stories from my Grandma’s growing-up years in her own words, and it was so beautifully written. It made us laugh and it made me cry. Because there were so many stories of grit.

She talked about working on the farm and mounting a horse as it was “taking off on the run.” She talked about threshing, something that “every able bodied person in the family was needed for. Certainly that included me. I was never sick–sometimes I wish I had been, so I wouldn’t have to do the work.” (Love that real life intertwined in there!) She talked about having to take her dad’s “sweep rake” up to his field to buck some hay, maneuvering two trusty Belgian mares along the edge of a deep gully. She told how the Spanish Influenza struck their home, how her mother and two brothers died within one week. How “all the laughter and happiness went from our lives.” And a little later in life her best friend sister passed away as well. She cried every night for weeks and went to school with swollen eyes. There were so many little snippets of pieces in her life in those stories there, things filled with grit and determination, things that made her the strong woman she was, and she ended with the quote Lucy and I have kind of made our “mantra” these days: “But when you master the seemingly impossible it does something for you that fits into your very character for a lifetime, and makes the next impossible thing seem that much easier.”

I was teary as we finished and I reminded Lucy she was doing the “impossible” with those new rods in her back, realizing that I, too, was doing my own little “impossible” trying to mother her through it. And I was flushed with gratitude for that grandma of mine who wasn’t afraid of those “impossibles.” She paved the way (as her mother before her did as well).

(my awesome grandma in the back, me in the front)

…As she did those things, she showed my mom how to do them too:

(If shepherding nine children through a camping adventure in the wilderness mountains of
Oregon for a summer isn’t impossible I don’t know what is!
more about that back HERE.)

…and she taught me how to do my own uncomfortable “impossibles” too:

…just as Dave’s mom forged ahead doing her own impossibles:

…and her mom before her:

As Lucy and I sat there in that hospital room fighting pain and worries on that Mother’s Day, I was flooded with such gratitude for those who mother everywhere and in every way. All doing the “seemingly impossible” in their own styles, with their own unique flair. Acts that make a difference over and over and over again.

So I just wanted to come here, in honor of Mother’s Day last week, (and every other day too for that matter), and remind those who mother that what they are doing matters. Every “impossible” that you come across, from answering those bazillion questions over and over again from a toddler to those hugs you give your bristling teenagers. Cleaning up messy faces, having the hard talks, letting them fight their own battles when they need to and revving up your inner “dragon mother” with your mama bear instincts…and knowing which is needed in the moment. And yes, even the fails and the times you need to apologize to those kids because you make big mistakes along the way as you try to balance and love the best way in this tricky job. The teary prayers sent Up, wrestling for help and guidance, the constant teaching and kindly correcting. The letting go and the holing on. It isn’t always pretty, in fact, sometimes it’s downright ugly in the depths of the trenches.

But, it all makes a difference. Those ripples of impossibilities sent out to all those you are mothering, in any and every way, change people and change the future.

“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” –William Ross Wallace

I am so very grateful for those moments together in the hospital with my girl, tears brimming in my eyes, realizing once again how much those “impossibles” of motherhood matter.

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  1. Happy belated Mother’s Day, Shawni! I love that bold quote from your grandma, I might have to make that my mantra too these days! I’m also dying to know, what’s a “sliver” referenced into your mom’s journal?!

    1. That was actually the journal I kept as the “family record keeper” back then. I kept track of all the things we did, and even drew a few sketches. That one was showing how much my mom was needed by all of us all the time. We all got slivers (little slivers of wood imbedded in feet and hands) from time to time since we were working with wood and living in the great outdoors, and I guess my mom was needed to help get those things out quite a lot!

      1. Oh that is funny, I think “slivers” may be just a word our family uses…we have a few of those that cracked Dave up when he first married into our family!

    1. She really was so amazing! So grateful for the power of those who have gone before and paved the way in so many ways!

  2. I have never commented before but this post made me cry and just might be the most inspiring sorry about motherhood I have ever read! Thank you! Yes! “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world!” Just so inspiring!!

  3. What a sweet post. I love how you reflected on your mother and mother in law and your grandmothers too. The pictures were precious. Thanks Shawni!

  4. Beautiful post, which has left me reading in a blur of tears. I always love your posts, but this one hit me right in the heart. Thank you for sharing ❤️.

    Sending love and light to Lu on her road to recovery.

    1. Thanks Sabrina. Lucy is doing so well! It amazes me how quickly she is healing and we are so grateful!

  5. I thought you might also like the quote from St Francis of Assisi “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

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