Mother’s Day was a simple concept when I was a kid. It required a card (store-bought or homemade), a couple of flowers (florist or garden), and a kiss of appreciation for all the stuff mothers took care of on the other 364 days. Maybe lunch or dinner out so Mom wouldn’t even have to open a can or boil a hot dog (or clean up the mess after her family tried to)…. Not so much anymore. True, it’s been well over twenty years since I’ve had to buy a Mother’s Day card, but I equate the loss of my “Mother’s Day innocence” not to the loss of my own mother, but to the first time I cringed at a Mother’s Day commercial. It was the first time I realized that, although I had been lucky in life, this celebration wasn’t all “cards-and flowers” for everybody. What, I wondered, must the day be like for a person whose mother has been diminished by Alzheimer’s? Or for someone who’s mother recently died? Or what of the scores of women who would have loved to experience motherhood, but were unable to? And then, this year, of course, there’s Newtown…..
I write this not to induce guilt or instigate wetblanket throwing, but rather to suggest that a new sensitivity might be included in the order of the day. If you are a new mother, then relish every moment of your first “official” Mother’s Day. On the other hand, if, for you, today is yet another pearl on a string of many, then I pray that you will not so much as touch a washer, dryer, or kitchen appliance, but rather enjoy a little time with a book, movie, or favorite kid (sure, sure, we all know you have one…). If you’re at the other end of things and are the one planning a celebration of some sort, take that second to remember that not everyone is fortunate enough to have that choice. Send up a quick and quiet prayer for those who are dreading this day.
There’s only so far I can take a column on Mother’s Day until I have to finally turn it over to an expert. A parishioner (a Mom) left me a wonderful piece on motherhood written by Allison Glock and published in this month’s issue of Southern Living. Let me share with you a couple of great lines from it:
“Motherhood is hard.
It is hard in the ways that matter and in the ways that don’t.
It can make you feel as powerful as the sea and as useless as a fleck of mud.
Sometimes in the same moment.
To be a mother is to be called to a higher purpose, whether you are equipped for that higher purpose or not…..
….Motherhood often means being blindsided by grief and grace, sometimes both at once…”