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It’s Sunday evening, and today is Mother’s Day. I spent the day hanging out with my mom. We ate, we watched TV, we ate some more. I love my mother. I’ve always recognized how fortunate I am to be so close to my family, to have people in my life who would literally do anything for me.

But as I scrolled through all of my friends’ social media posts today, with idealized versions of their mothers and what today means, I kept thinking how complicated life can be. I kept thinking of the things that lie in the shadows, all the things we don’t say. And my heart broke a little thinking about the people who cannot sum up their feelings in 140 characters or in the caption of a photo throwing back to their younger years.

In the last few days, strangers—store cashiers, restaurant servers, bus drivers—have ended interactions with me with three cheery words.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I do not have children.

Now, these well wishes did not bother me. I knew each of the people meant well. But, their words did make me understand how complex our lives are and how varied our experiences.

There are women who are mothers, yet mourn the simpler times before their children were born. There are women who long to have children, yet know from years of medical procedures this will likely not come to pass. There are women who have disdain for their mothers, because their mothers did not know how to mother them in the all the ways people need to be loved. There are women who have lost their mothers, who will never get over the pain of not being able to share another Mother’s Day with them. I have known all of these women.

But the truth is, we all mother something. We care for ourselves, our friends, nieces and nephews, strangers in need. And, we all give birth to something, whether through creativity or creating a home or making a life, we all make something from nothing.  We all bring life and energy and love into the world every single day. That has to matter for something. This, too, should be celebrated.

So, for all of you who don’t have the words to describe today, who feel less than, who feel lonely and not worthy of a day dedicated to you, hear this:  you matter.

You and all of the love bursting in you matters.  You have mothered things into this world.  You have loved things into being.  And you will continue to do this, because it’s the essence of who you are.

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And, you are loved.

xo, with goodness and grace.

I’m very blessed to have a fantastic mother who would go to the ends of the earth for me.  If she knew you were in need of something, she’d probably help you too.

She’s also slightly psychic – growing up, she’d often tell my brother and I why certain people in our lives would prove to be absolutely no good.  She was usually right.  We finally told her that we just didn’t want to know.

She’s a great cook, a fashionista and always in possession of the latest gadget.  And she’s incredibly courageous on top of all of that.

Today I celebrate her and all the reasons why I’m proud to be her daughter.

Now, you may not have had the ideal mothering experience growing up.  You may have chosen an alternate mother figure: a sister, an aunt, a grandmother. Or perhaps even someone outside of the family to fill that void.  Whoever that person is, celebrate them today.

Maybe you’ve had to pick up the slack and have had to mother yourself.  Bravo to you for your courage in developing a skill that most of us would benefit from.  For an insightful perspective on why it’s necessary to mother yourself, check out this article by noted yoga teacher Tara Stiles. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tara-stiles/mothers-day-the-importanc_b_567512.htm

And maybe you are a new mother yourself and are just finding your way.  May grace light your path as you embark on the most sacred work on the planet. For the stay at home moms who need a voice to say the things in your head, read my friend Alyssa’s new blog at http://www.prettygirltosahm.blogspot.com/.

No matter where you are in mother worship, here’s to a happy Mother’s Day to everyone.  May it be filled remembrance and celebration for the mothers in your lives – and with goodness and grace.

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