The Other Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is a feel-good holiday celebrated with Sunday brunch, breakfast-in-bed, greeting cards, gifts, hugs, and visits.

While the media brings us warm stories of maternal love and devotion, we should remember those who face this day with longing, sadness, or ambivalence.

Mothers who have lost a child.

Women who have suffered multiple miscarriages.

Women unable to get pregnant.

Those who gave up a baby for adoption.

Those who never met their mother.

Those who lost their mother too early.

Those whose mother no longer recognizes them.

Those estranged from their mother.

Those with a mother in prison.

If you know someone in the above categories, reach out on Mother’s Day. Show sensitivity.  I think of my nieces and nephew, young adults, who have missed their mom for the past 4 and a half years.

If your mother is alive, count yourself lucky—no matter the state of your relationship.

You still have the chance to make peace, make amends, practice forgiveness, ask questions, or simply say, “I love you.”

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The way we understand and relate to our mothers will be different at twenty-five than at forty-five and at fifty-five. Becoming a mother made me understand my own better and appreciate her sacrifices, which I’d taken for granted in my youth.

As the eldest of six children, I was the designated babysitter during my teen years. I dreaded Saturday nights when I was on call to make dinner, care for a fussy baby or deal with a sibling who refused to go to bed. I thought it was so unfair that my mother left me in charge of my five siblings when I wanted to go out with friends. In my adolescent self-centeredness, I couldn’t fathom why she needed to go out every week.

Where was she going? On a date with my father—her beloved.

Years later, I’d remember this when trying to find a trustworthy babysitter to care for my own kids so I could enjoy a Saturday night date.

Today I’m grateful for the close relationship with my three children and hope it will continue to flourish into their adulthood.  I cherish the Mother’s Day gifts they’ve given over the years, especially the handmade ones with written expressions.

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I think the greatest gift we can give our mothers (and fathers) is gratitude and appreciation.

Sift through any resentment and look for what your mom gave you, no matter how small.

Then let her know.

          *  *  *

Here’s mine.

Mom, thank you for…

Instilling in me a sense of adventure and romance.

Encouraging my talents.

Nourishing my imagination.

Fantastic childhood birthdays parties.

The gift of a musical home.

The gift of words—the family stories, children’s books, and poetry.

You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be –

I had a Mother who read to me.

                 ~Strikland Gillilan

What are you grateful for?

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25 responses

  1. Thank you Evelyn. You said it all & so beautifully.
    I shared it with other mothers & Facebook friends.
    Mother’s Day isn’t quite the same since my mother died about 2 years ago.
    And my children are grown now with lives of their own & rightly so.
    I just miss the old sense of family & connectedness we once had. Now as I prepare to turn 65 this month, I’m reminded how important it is to continue to create that sense of family & connection wherever I go. I have a new life now without husband or kids. I’m blazing new trails of friendship and community. Who knows where it will take me.
    “Friends are the family you choose.” Unknown

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing the post, Linda. I realized I should have included: those whose grown children live far away or who are celebrating their own Mother’s Day. You are absolutely right about making new connections. I, too, am learning how to let go of “what was” and forge new traditions and community. Wishing you a happy birthday and many more. Bloom where you are!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a beautiful post, and you are right about Mother’s Day not always being a day of celebration. I am lucky to still have my wonderful (and often contrary!) mother to enjoy the day with, and I will do my best to show my gratitude. You are right, too, about how your relationship with your Mum changes over time. Thank you for sharing ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Evelyn, what a lovely tribute, thank you for sharing. Wishing you a wonderful day with your loved ones.
    I lost my mom (my best friend) nearly six years ago and I still miss her every day but none so acutely as this one. As someone who isn’t a mom, Mother’s Day feels especially lonely so thank you for remembering those of us for whom this holiday is difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Joanne. You’ve reminded me that a person can fit into more than one of the situations I listed in my post. In the Jewish tradition we honor our deceased parent through lighting Shabbat candels, Yartzeit candles on the death anniversary, doing good deeds and giving charity in their names. Wishing you continued healing. May your mother’s memory be a blessing.

      Like

  4. A beautiful post, Evelyn, not only recognizing the nuances of the day, but in appreciation of your mother and all she gave you when you were growing up. I notice my perceptions changing too as I age, and I’ve happily taken on the role of “mothering” my mother with love. ❤ Happy Mother's Day.

    Liked by 1 person

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