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Mother’s Day can be beautiful for some women. It can be hurt filled for others.
Or in my case, it can just feel plain old awkward.

I felt eight years of awkward Mother’s Days. In my late 20s to mid-30s, I felt like the woman no one knew what to say to or what to do with.

I felt a double whammy on Mother’s Day. My mother was home in Heaven. My womb was empty and always would be. My desire to have a child was filled with an intentional choice to go a non-traditional route to motherhood and was filled with anxiety about when it would happen while holding onto a string of hope it would happen.

It was eight years of an overlap without my mother and not yet becoming a mother.

I was always invited to Mother’s Day get-togethers and was always given the option to go if I wanted or pass if I needed to. There was space to breathe in my awkwardness and space to figure out who I desired to be during these in-between years.

RELATED: Mother’s Day Stings Without My Mom Here

Some Mother’s Days, I went to my mother-in-law’s to honor her and her mother over hotdogs and baked beans. Some Mother’s Days, I stayed home. Some Mother’s Days, I honored my mother with my dad and siblings by doing the breast cancer walk in our city. And other Mother’s Days, I went to a beautiful garden with a dear friend whose mother also passed away.

These eight years were painfully hard, and they were also filled with beautiful tributes. But what I realized during those eight years was golden.

I was never the awkward girl.

I was never as isolated as I thought I was. I was loved. I was cherished. I was seen.

Family and friends would send me cards, drop off flowers, or send me a text. They would acknowledge me in the places I felt unseen or lostplaces I left guarded, even from God himself. This little community spoke into me and met me right where I was on this journey.

Little do they know how much their encouragement and support meant to me. It allowed me to see how different Mother’s Day was for all women and how women walk the road to motherhood differently and walk the road to their own mothers differently.

They made me realize there is a need to pull in women who feel different or feel like the traditional Mother’s Day festivities do not fit their lives. They made me see life is more a circle than a square and how there are many women out in the world who mother but who are not mothers in a typical sense. And how there are mothers in the world who may not be present in a child’s life yet still can be honored.

The generosity of my little community opened my eyes and my heart.

In my own awkwardness and longing, they reminded me a wait time is never wasted. Waiting times grow us. They prune us, and they reveal things about ourselves we often tuck away.

RELATED: There is No Happy in Mother’s Day For the Mom With Empty Arms

Lessons can be learned in an eight-year awkward season. I learned my life can be intentional if I allowed it. I can become a woman who holds the word “and” with the highest weight. I could wish I could celebrate Mother’s Day with my mother and I could also honor my mother-in-law. I could celebrate my sisters and sisters-in-law as mothers and I could wish I was a mother. The word “and” taught me how I can hold two emotions at once and feel them deeply.

I can feel awkward and receive the love of my people.

Years later, I am a mother of a 6-year-old through adoption. I am teaching her about the word “and” and the word “awkward” and how both can teach us that in the biggest places of our longings we can become women who are intentional about seeing others in their pain, in their beauty, and in their awkward places.

I hope one day that is my Mother’s Day legacy.

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Sue Volikas

I've been married to my high school sweetheart, Tim, for 18 years and became a mom 6 years ago through adoption to my adventure seeker daughter. I'm trying to see the beauty and hope in broken places. I write one glimpse at a time about grief and loss, mother-daughter relationships, adoption, and faith.

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