There is a small group of moms sitting together at a local restaurant. Those with long hair have swept it into a quick ponytail, shorter hair tucked behind the ears, lightweight coats shed on the backs of their chairs, bare arms exposed under bright colored shirts, elbows resting casually on the table, or gently crossed as they lean back in their chair, relaxed.
These moms laugh comfortably and easily with one another as they intermittently sip on a cool drink of iced tea or iced coffee. It’s an unusually warm day for early May in Michigan.
After a time, the table falls silent, as one of the moms quietly tells of recent challenges with her daughter. They all lean in slightly toward her, and tears fill their eyes as they listen. One mom reaches out a hand, and touches this mother’s arm as she pauses in her story. They all nod in understanding, this life is too much sometimes, and they offer words of encouragement and assurance.
Soon, it is time to go, so they all get up, and walk together toward the car, taking their warm energy with them. The table is now restored back to its former emptiness.
If I had observed these moms 8 years ago, I would have been in awe of their emotions. How can they laugh at such challenges raising children with special needs, from the big to the small that they handle every day? I would admire their strength and courage, and the old adage would pop into my head to be thankful for my life, because someone’s troubles are always more difficult than your own.
But, I was not an observer at this table, and it is not 8 years ago. It is the present day, and I am one of those moms at the table. I shared fully in the laughs and shared my stories of victories and of challenges, both big and small. I am one of those moms who understands fully the tears of frustration, and cried together with my friends.
I am so very thankful to be one of those moms at the table today, and it’s not because my troubles are better or worse than another.
I am thankful because I get to call these strong, beautiful moms my friends. I have grown greatly in this life with them. That’s a lot to be thankful for.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of you strong, beautiful women! May we continue to share and grow together.