Captains log May 10, 2021

Corona Day #426
(It’s been 372 days since my last post)
(do you think it’s safe again?)
Mother's Day.
Let’s be honest, it’s one of those complicated holidays.
I don’t watch TV, but last weekend during a hotel stay, Zach switched it on before we drifted off. I was shocked by the sheer amount of Mothers Day ads. It was relentless really. So many shiny mom’s deserving of diamonds, fancy purses and lots of pastel shirts. Now don’t get me wrong… yes, Moms deserve floral items and a Michael Kors bag, but what if you can’t afford it, or your mom is a raging drunk or your kid hates you, or you prefer all black clothing and being left alone? (Clears throat)
This is what I mean by complicated.
The first Christmas after my mom passed was complicated, my old school well-meaning dad made it his first priority to find a woman to stand in the gap that year… and yes, I mean that with every connotation intended. My sister and I became rather feral, and if I remember correctly, clean clothes, showers and brushed hair were not high on the to-do list. Survival was. As Christmas approached, I was invited to attend a performance of the Nutcracker by a sweet Mom who helped in my classroom. I still don’t know why I was picked for the honor, pity I am sure played a part, but none of that mattered to me at all. The day came and looking back I can totally remember how excited I was. I’ve often wondered if she was uncomfortable when she picked me up. The dress I wore was from the previous Christmas when my mom was still alive, so were my shoes. I’m sure it was too small and ill-fitted, stained, my heels began to bleed the second the shoes were buckled. Was I showered, hair brushed? Probably not. And to make matters worse, before the ballet, unable to sit still EVER, I had slipped and fallen in my white patent leather’s, ripping my tights and bleeding down the front of them. I’m sure I was a sight, and in all honesty, it might have been a little embarrassing to be seen with me. But I was never made to feel that way. I, for the first time in a long time, felt special, loved, and completely and totally accepted, bloody tights and all.
I could tell you this same story over and over again, just in different forms. My 4th-grade class Mom was just one of many that saw and met a need for the motherless unkept Amber. Over my lifetime, I have known and been loved by simply breathtakingly incredible women. Not perfect, not shiny, but steadfast in friendship, guidance, support, and love.
Every one of these women, every interaction (good and bad) formed me into the Mom I am today. The Grandmother who came by Sundays for months after my mom passed, offering to take me to church. Every single week she was turned away, left empty-handed. She taught me persistence, and that God leaves the 99 to go after the little raggedy girl. You can argue all day long with me about a God, but there is no way my story arcs the way it does without a divine hand on the women who made me who I am today and in my own life as well.
Becoming Momma Strehle.
Let me tell you, these four have broken me. I’m not a shiny Mom, if you would like advice on all the ways you can totally screw up your kiddos, let’s meet for coffee, I have hours worth of material. I have stumbled through the past 24 years, passionately, but rather awkwardly. I’ve always seemed to have a knack for not being like the others, always a bit too much or a bit too little in every situation. My kids are walking experiments by two parents with unconventional backgrounds and beliefs. There has never been a task I have put so much into, failed so often at, yet simultaneously received so much joy from, over and over and over again.
Complicated is an understatement.
My Mother's Day weekend was a cross-country whirlwind… I was surrounded by beautiful but complicated stories all weekend, not a lot of shine, but decidedly a lot of grit. It was one of those unexpected times in life that takes your breath away, God’s goodness took center stage and I pinch myself and ask if this is really my life.
I read once that, “The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it”
I see more now, not all of it, but enough to turn what could be anger and bitterness into utter awe and wonder. God chose me for this life, for these kiddos, for my experiences, the good, the bad, all of it. I can’t adequately express what the little girl in the dirty dress thinks of this... mostly, she is just simply astonished.
I’m a day late, awkward, and overly wordy as usual... but I still want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day dear friends, you truly are a wonder.

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