With Mother’s Day displays in every store and reminders to remember your mother in commercials and on-line ads, I can’t help but think about all the mothers in my life. Regardless of our life stage, as women we are bonded through motherhood. We are soaring and sinking in different ways and always watching and listening to those around us for clues of their struggle or ease with parenting. I’ve spent several days thinking about all the mothers in my life and pondering what a day might look like for them based on our conversations and my observations. What will a “mother’s day” be like for these women on Sunday?
This mother’s day will take place at the perfect restaurant for the perfect brunch and the perfectly poured mimosa. The kids will be impeccably dressed and likely color-coordinated. The photo of this moment will no doubt be posted to social media and liked again and again. This mother’s day looks amazing, but she is not certain she is a great mother. Her uncertainty troubles her, but she’d never dare to unload this burdensome thought on others.
This mother’s day will be messy. Her little ones will squeal with joy as they destroy her kitchen to serve her burned jelly toast with a side of waffles, a piece of ham, and a pudding cup. Their eyes will be wide with excitement as she takes her first bite. There will be crayon drawings with rainbows and happy faces. She kisses them and loves on them but dreads entering the kitchen, which she will clean tomorrow because they won’t let her clean today.
This mother’s day will be quiet. No one will wake her up early and her kitchen is as spotless as she left it. The children have grown and gone to make families of their own. She can sip her coffee silently and slowly and look forward to their calls later in the day. Her job will never be complete, but she is on the other side now, full of parental wisdom. She’s left the panic of, “Did I get it right?” and has entered, “It was a wild ride and I am thankful for the adventure.” She is at peace.
This mother’s day will be unforgettable. She got a late start on the baby game. She dealt with setbacks again and again. She was told she might have missed her opportunity, but she persisted nonetheless with faith and science and anything else she thought would help, and she got there. She will hold this precious child close and gaze at an angelic face. At long last, she gets to be the celebrated mother when just a year ago she wondered how it could be so unfair.
This mother’s day isn’t really a mother’s day at all. She never had the family she envisioned years ago. Her maternal instincts remain, and she showers her pets and the children of her friends and family with kindness and affection. When someone asks if she has kids, it doesn’t sting as much as it used to when she replies no. For her, there is acceptance, and the choice to pursue joy despite the disappointment.
This mother’s day is emotional. Most of her days are spent on a rollercoaster of feelings. I imagine she wakes in the fog of her tragedy and lingers for a moment in both her sleep and waking state wondering if it actually happened. She lost her child in a way that was unpredictable and unforgiving. She will always be a mother, but she struggles with how to define it now. Each day she works to adapt to her new normal. She is loved and the subject of prayer for family and friends on this day and every day.
This mother’s day is blissful. She has a wonderful husband and her kids are fabulous although not perfect. They all love her and appreciate her. She feels like she has won the husband and family lottery. She doesn’t share her truth because, in most circles, it is only acceptable to complain and commiserate. Even though she doesn’t tell others, she knows she is in a good place that is to be appreciated and celebrated.
A look into a mother’s day can change from year to year. I know in taking a close look around me I’ve also managed to describe my own situation in several of the paragraphs above because every year feels different. Whether you celebrate today, mourn today, thank God you survived your own mother on this day, or internalize a wide range of feelings on this day, be open to knowing the many stories all around you. Be prepared to give when you are up and open to receiving when you are down. Your awareness, gentle acknowledgment, and support just might make a mother’s day.
*Photo by terrihinojosa.com