Yesterday was Mothers’ Day. I was well remembered by my children. We were together mind, body and spirit. Gifts and cards and precious handwritten notes came my way. But, to me, there’s always a secret spot in my heart that hides sadness behind the gladness on this day. It’s not only that my own mother died when I was just fourteen years old and my brothers eleven and five. It’s for all those who have lost their mothers and mothers who have lost their children one way or another. My grandmother showed me a letter Mother had written shortly before her passing. It ended with "Please take care of my babies."
It may seem fitting to honor our parents with days set aside for them, and yet I wonder if it isn’t enough, even better, that we do this not with special days of celebration or just because we’re expected to on those special days, but with appreciative thoughts and spontaneous gestures straight from the heart on any ordinary day.
No one but a mother can know the joys, the pains, the hopes that a mother harbors in her heart for her newborn child. When Mothers’ Day comes along and everyone seems to be remembering Mom with smiles and hugs, that mom who hasn’t heard from her child, that one who has lost a child, that one who is overlooked and forgotten by her child on that day, - that mom only can know what I mean when I say that it may be hard for these moms to be greeted with "Happy Mothers' Day!"
I know a mother whose child is in jail. I know of her early nurturing of him, her patience and endless love. I know, too, that he loves her but something always goes wrong. I know of some mothers who feel unloved, forgotten, abandoned on this day. Is their pain worth the joy that luckier mothers feel when showered by gifts and cards and phone calls because of a special day to celebrate Mother?
Years ago my young sons, Wally and David, had forgotten (or not been reminded) to write me a card on Mothers’ Day. As the other mothers at the dinner table opened their cards and gifts my two boys slipped away sheepishly and without apology to another room. I was hurt deeply, both by them and my husband who had not seen to it. After dinner I went off to another room myself and moped. Then I thought, Why you crazy woman! Aren’t your boys good boys? Aren’t they respectful of you every day? Don’t they get good grades in school? Haven’t they held to the high standards of social behavior you’ve expected? Don’t they even hug you and kiss you often? Then my husband slipped into the room and apologized for not seeing to it that the boys did something. (Robin was too young to have known.) Maybe my thoughts about Mothers’ Days started then.
Now that I’ve stated my case I hasten to add there are countless rebuttals to this argument out there. I would never start campaigning against Mothers’ Day. It’s just a thought. I’m even crazy enough to feel the same way about birthdays. The card companies would call me the Scrooge of all celebration, but I’m not. No, I think celebration of our loved ones, of all the good things and people in our lives should be as natural as breathing. God gave us birthdays and mothers’ days and fathers’ days and Christmases and happy times. I’m not for discounting these. They deserve their specialness. Even celebrations, I suppose, but without excess. There I go, conceding. But maybe some of my readers will agree just a smidgen?