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Most days I am praying that I get it half right. And I’m praying that it is the better half that I am getting right, not the half that makes it easy for me to frustrate or be frustrated, to spit out words that are less than encouraging or let my temper fly because my patience is beyond wafer thin and you can see the cracks where I am starting to break.

I pray in those moments when my kids all want to crawl in my lap at the same time (because who takes turns when you are five and under?) that these are the moments that I get right. That I would hug them until they let go first so I know they got all the hugs they need. That I would press my cheek into Haddie’s just as hard she does into mine when she sings me songs about my hair or necklace of the day. That my son’s giggling as I scoop him up and his endearing cry of, “Oh, mom!” are the moments more frequent and the moments they remember. Not those other ones, the other half that I ashamedly admit I have gotten down to a science.

And here it is Mother’s Day and the boys come galloping into the living room with shouts of, “Happy Mother’s Daaaaaay!” with hands full of cards and flowers shoved into my face because they just can’t wait for me to see it all. And there’s breakfast made and handmade cards from the boys and church and then-

A break in the joy.

A trip to the cemetery, to lay down flowers for my mother and my grandmother and my aunt. This is the first year I didn’t cry and I am not sure whether to be relieved or alarmed. And I think in my head to my mother how there are so many things I wish I could ask her about this mother-thing and so many other things.

But that’s not for me. It’s not for me to post a picture of me side by side with words of praise and adoration alongside it on social media, pronouncing my mother is the best for all to see.

This is the first year I didn’t scroll quickly past the others though, the first time I didn’t think about wanting this day over.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds but it dulls it and changes your perception of it.

This year my sister celebrates her first Mother’s Day.

This year I celebrate the addition of a child that allows me another reason to celebrate this day.

This year I know mothers who have lost theirs and those who are mending fences and some that still have theirs broken.

I may be crying silently while I type because no matter what this day will always hold emotions, will always be different for me than for others and empathetically similar for others still.

My only prayer is as I figure it out along the way I will do the better half right of loving my children, praying for them, and raising them to be the best version of themselves, children that love God and know He is good and live it out each day.

This year I know that everyone has a different story and mine is being re-written with me playing the role of mother and these four little wild creatures tagging behind me like mini-shadows are not just the supporting roles but the defining role of this one character for me. And I am so much more than a mother but to them that is all they know me for and that is what I intend to be for them. The good and the bad. The ugly and the pretty. I intend to walk this out the best I can and to teach them along the way that mistakes will be made but you own them and you can continue working on yourself by the grace of God until the ugly half, the half you don’t show anyone else, the tired and exhausted and impatient and fury-like half that whispers you are failing loses ground and becomes less than half, less than a quarter. You accept the reality of imperfection but you keep striving for the sake of your children, for the sake of their future.

When you do get those victories, you dance. You celebrate. Like Mother’s Day, we are called to celebrate the mothers, those who have gone before and those who are here now. So let Mother’s Day be your victory dance, the celebration of the trials you have overcome, the fun and love you have cherished, and the love that others have for you, because if they didn’t have that love for you they wouldn’t be celebrating and taking a day just for you. It’s just for you. It’s your day to dance.

It’s our day of better halves, the ones they will remember, that we need to remind ourselves of when we don’t feel like celebrating.

Happy Mother’s Day to your better half moments, the moments that shine through and make you worth celebrating. And you know that uglier half, the one that makes you cringe? It’s probably not as bad as you think. We are our own worst critics but there is grace enough for us all. We are not alone in this and none of this is new. My mother may not be here now but God has given me many other women who have helped along the way, are helping. They remind me of grace and how I need to give a huge dose to myself most days.

Because of that grace, today we celebrate. I can celebrate.