Mother’s Day brings up a whole gamut of emotions. For those who have lost mothers and feel the pain of grief and separation. For those who have had mothers who suffered with mental illness and/or addiction and grew up in homes with violence and pain, this day can be confusing and overwhelming. For those who have desired to give birth but not had this happen, this can breed resentment and pain. For those who live with the “what if’s ” scenarios after giving a child up for adoption. For those waiting anxiously to adopt. For those whose family of origin reject their way of living.
Also, there are the single Moms, the Moms of children/teens/adults who deal with mental illness and /or addiction. Mothers of children who are no longer here on this planet. Mothers of children who commit suicide.
Women who choose not to have children and are judged. Fathers raising kids without a mother.
I also witness the joy in the arrival of new life. The love of family that knows no bounds. I see mothers and fathers doing the best they possibly know how by their kids. I see blended families working together to put kids first. I see so many people even with limited resources creating loving, safe, stable homes for their families.
I see my dear friends, 2 Mamas absolutely delight in raising twin boys (#bubbielife). I observe another friend delighted with the upcoming birth of a baby girl struggle with the expectations of “doing the right thing and the best possible so I don’t screw up my kid” that society is starting to shove down her throat. She and her partner are amazing and do not need this bull crap. They will be amazing parents! I learn from friends who continue to parent adult children in loving and respectable ways of being supportive and not interfering at the same time.
Can we please make space for all of this? I have to make my own space for the experience of raising a child with a disability and witnessing both physical and emotional pain and suffering in my child time and time again with only my presence to offer. I have to make my own space for surrender when my oldest child leapt into adulthood and all the responsibilities that entails in ways I had not imagined for him. Can we make space for the understanding that we are not writing the script? That is okay if our kids fail? That it is okay that they may succeed in ways we are not able to see if we have our own script and the only copy we are using is ours?
That which might bring a strong man to his knees my daughter has endured and has a depth of character unseen in most adults. My son is thriving and responsible and most importantly to me, happy in his life he has chosen and I am blessed beyond measure for all this.
The Hallmark quality of sentiment (that makes me throw up in my mouth) doesn’t make space for all of this. The middle class phenomenon of mothers living vicariously through their children as if they were trophies on the shelf that validates the venerable position of motherhood through these stellar accomplishments (which go on Pinterest) also doesn’t make space for this.
I had an amazing conversation with a mother that I have known since childhood. We attended school together and now our kids who are around the same age ranges, some out of school, some still in school ran into each other in the liquor store (ha!). We had what I would call a rare, raw and beautiful conversation about the challenges we faced with our kids growing older and where we felt concern and where we were each struggling to be in this space. We cried and hugged and I felt such a sense of relief at not having to play the compare accomplishments game.
Honoring Mothers is wonderful. Can we just be real about it?