Once upon a time there were two cousins, Big Shannon (that’s me) and Little Shannon (my cousin). In reality, it was my Dad and her Mom that were cousins, but it didn’t matter…they loved the time they spent together.

As it happens and they both got older, their lives went separate ways their paths crossing only intermittently at the less frequent family reunions.

Big Shannon being the older of the two (hence the “Big” in the nickname) was the first to have a child…a boy…and then she got married and a second son entered the picture…and then she got pregnant and #3 entered the scene.

About the time #3 came along, Little Shannon got married and eventually had a beautiful baby girl. And the cousins continued to live their separate lives intersecting only through Facebook.

And then heartbreak hit…what should have been an amazing second pregnancy for Little Shannon came heartbreaking news that her #2 would not survive life outside the womb.

And Big Shannon sat and watched from the sidelines, heartbroken for her cousin who gracefully experienced the joy of pregnancy while heartbroken in anticipation of her son’s birth.

And the cousins continued to live their lives intersecting only through Facebook.  And then it happened, baby Eli was born and died within minutes. And Little Shannon walked with her cross in the most graceful of ways, finding a way to celebrate Eli’s short, precious life through random acts of kindness.

Big Shannon watched in awe of Little Shannon and thought about her own life. About her own trials and tribulations and how they paled in comparison with Little Shannon’s. Not that motherhood thing is a competition, far from it, but we moms can’t help but compare ourselves sometimes.

As Moms we all have our crosses to bear, some heavier than others, some more obvious than others, but we all have them.

And sometimes, most of the time, we forget;  we get wrapped up in our own lives and we forget that the cross we bear may be the very cross someone else would love to carry.

So Little Shannon, and all of the moms out there who are struggling to conceive, who have experienced miscarriages, who have birthed and lost babies and who have lost their little ones, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I appear to be insensitive sometimes.

I’m sorry that I complain about the stress of being a mom.

I’m sorry that I write about experiences you ache to have.

I’m sorry that I’ve been so blessed in my life.

I’m sorry that your cross is more obvious and heavier than mine.

But know this, my heart breaks with yours, today more than ever knowing Mother’s Day is looming. Mother’s Day, a day I personally dread, but for reasons so different than yours, for reasons that don’t matter, for reasons you likely would love to have.

So today, I promise to work on being more sensitive, to work on remembering that no matter how crazy and hard my life may seem, it’s a hard and crazy life others would love to have.

I promise to recognize the backtalk, the dawdling, the snot, the vomit,  the pee on the toilet seat, the complaining at dinner, the complaining at bed time, the complaining on shower nights, the fidget spinners, the broken lamps, the socks in the living room, the underwear in the bathroom, the crumbs on, around and under the chairs at the dinner tables, the carpools, the conferences, the fights about homework, the fingerprints on the walls… all of it; I promise to recognize all of it for what it is…

A gift.

A gift I wish I could give all of you mommas out there who are waiting for that positive pregnancy test, for that healthy baby or for that rainbow child.

A gift I take for granted.

While this mom shit is hard, it’s the best damn gift I’ve ever gotten.