As I’ve written about before, children did not come easily to our family. During those struggles, Mother’s Days at church were excruciating. Even after becoming the mother of two, I still struggle with Mother’s Day-–the sense of inadequacy as people wax poetic about their Supermoms, the echoes of painful Mother’s Days past. I’m happy to report that those echos are fading, and each year I better appreciate the beauty of a day when we celebrate the very real sacrifices of the mothers of every one of the 6 billion people on this planet, of mothers of past generations, and our Heavenly Mother.
Still, I have immense empathy for Mother’s Day angst. While (barely) enduring a Mother’s Day Sacrament Meeting during the infertile period, I fantasized about the talk I would have given if I’d been asked, an antidote to the typical Mother’s Day talk.
By typical talk, I mean that people frequently go on about how parenthood has been the best preparation for godhood, or parenthood does more than anything else to build those traits and give one a sense of what it must be like to be God. As someone who was facing the possibility of not ever having children in this life, I found this talk very frustrating. Would I then be forever under-prepared? Why was I even here if not to experience something that is, according to these talks, an irreplaceable experience?
So I tried to think about what lessons I was learning about what it must be like to be God, by not having kids. And the main one I came up with is that the position I was in was very helpless. I was just waiting for children to come, with very little control over the situation. At the same time, I wanted to do more than just sit around passively waiting, so I was preparing to be the best parent I could. I made elaborate plans for all the great things I would do. At one point I even made my own fantasy architectural plans for a backyard playhouse (two-story, built into the trunk of a giant faux tree). But the more I prepared, the more frustrated I became, wanting to shout up to my unborn in the heavens, “What’s wrong, kids? I have so many things waiting for you! So much I want to do for you, and yet, you’re not coming!”
That frustration, that feeling of wanting to embrace and wanting to love, but having the child not approach me, which is ultimately not in my hands, is the exact feeling that God must have all the time. We have to want to return to Him, that is our agency. He has blessings He wants to bestow on us, knowledge He can’t wait to share with us. My backyard had a planned playhouse, but His house has many mansions that He has prepared for us. Yet most of us spend most of our lives veering off the course back to Him to varying degrees. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God, though I am certain He has infinitely more patience in waiting for us than I had in waiting for children. But in that aching, longing love, I felt very close to Him.