May be an image of 4 people and people smiling

Being Jessica’s mother is the greatest gift and honor of a lifetime. I will never forget the moment she was born. “You got your girl,” my husband said. I had all but forgotten that the baby would have a gender while laboring. This excerpt from The Red Tent resonates about that moment:

“There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, elated and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood. I beheld myself as an infant in my mother’s arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned.”

Anita Diamant, The Red Tent

It’s been a few years since Jess and I have spent an official Mothers’ Day together. For the past five years, she has done some serious adulting—graduating from college, moving from Lincoln to Washington, DC. to Madison, Wisconsin, working full-time, going to graduate school, getting her first apartment on her own, and finding love.

2020 was a big year. Besides enduring a pandemic that abruptly ended her graduate studies sans proper graduation ceremony, Jessica started a new job with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a Children’s Services Program and Policy Analyst. And on the third Sunday of Advent—called Gaudete Sunday, Latin for joy—John Holland asked Jessica to marry him on a hilltop in historic Galena, Illinois where more than 5,000 candlelit luminaries lined the streets, steps, sidewalks, and store windows. Jessica’s smile says it all — PURE JOY.

She is becoming… and it is beautiful to behold.  

“When Jessica was just a toddler, I created a bedtime prayer that I blessed her with each night…Some nights, in a hurry, it was shortened to “God bless Jessica’s mind, body and spirit. Amen.” Still, it remains my prayer for Jessica as she continues to become, giving birth to herself over and over again, becoming more herself.

God bless Jessica’s mind so that she makes good decisions and choices.
God bless Jessica’s body so that she grows strong and healthy and safe.

God bless Jessica’s spirit so that she knows the love of God and others. Amen.”
(from Jessica Becoming)

Jessica becoming
Jessica Becoming, a special card for all the phases of Jessica’s life through high school, 2012.

There isn’t anything that could make my Mothers’ Day any happier than knowing that my prayers have been, and are being, answered. Jessica has made good decisions and choices, she is strong and healthy, she does know the love of God and others. She is becoming.

That sacred moment of birth continues into all the moments of becoming. This is all a mother desires—to know that her child is happy, at peace, learning, growing, working hard, loving well, and always becoming. 

This is what makes every day a happy Mother’s Day. I journey with Jessica in her becoming. As she grows, I grow. I am learning and re-creating the role of mother as Jessica is becoming. And this year, I will become a new mother-(in-law) to John (the name that we had picked out if we had a boy child after Jessica.) How beautifully God works!

We are all becoming.

May be an image of 4 people, including John Holland, Teresa Kretz and Joe Gehr

© Jodi Blazek Gehr