I remember the day clearly as my friend and I walked as fast as our feet could carry us out of the high school building to the soccer field, as far from everyone as we could get. My sixteen year old self knew something was coming, but I wasn’t fully prepared to handle the fact that my best friend just told me she was pregnant.
A little shocked and totally worried, because our private school frowned upon such “sins”, I knew it wasn’t looking good for her right away. In a world of rules (which if I’m being honest was not that difficult for this rule following, people pleaser), when you committed such an offense, you had to go. I knew that’s what was going to happen. Although I never endured the scrutiny, the gossip, the disappointment, and the banning from all the things, I watched my friend go through all of it.
In the days, weeks, months and years to come I watched not only our close friends stand beside her, but more importantly, I watched how my own mother cared for her. At the time, I didn’t understand the gravity of her actions. Now as an adult I realize how much my mother taught me just by loving someone through their hurt.
She taught me how to stand by a friend. Even when it was not in your best interest to hang out with people that didn’t follow all the rules, she showed me how to be a friend. I distinctly remember one instance where my friend was asked to leave an off campus event that she came to with US. Even when it ruffled feathers and it wasn’t easy, my mother taught me to never abandon your friends, especially during crisis.
She taught me how a baby is never a mistake. While the world views teenage pregnancy as a mistake and excuse for termination, my mother’s actions during it all proved that each baby mattered and to care for the baby, you MUST love on the mother.
She taught me how to love others, specifically mothers, without an agenda. No matter the age, no matter the circumstances, no matter other people's opinions, you simply love. By opening your home, listening, laughing, talking, crying, and sometimes feeding. Welcome them all just as they are. Love big.
She taught me to show up. Late one night I received a call from my friend and she was frantically worried about her baby. She asked if my mom could take her to the hospital. My mom didn’t hesitate. In that moment, I knew we were all in. Especially my mom. She was available and she showed up over and over again.
Most importantly she taught me what grace was in a place where grace was not freely given. I used to say that I never really heard about grace until I was nearly 30 years old, but that’s not technically true. My mother taught me way back when. Even when she didn’t agree with or approve of decisions that were made, she reached out with both hands, opened her home, and extended grace. She loved without judgement and taught me so many things.
Mom, you are one in a million and you did a lot better than you think.
Thank you for loving others, thank you for showing up, and thank you for teaching me all about grace.