I understand these perspectives and in many ways I agree with them..
Often, Mother’s day hurts more than it helps, and those of us who have lost mothers or who never had one in the first place understand that with sharp clarity. We go into this holiday feeling like the outcasts, the ones with no one to celebrate, no one to celebrate us.
Anne Lammott said it best (have a I gushed about her enough lately? Get used to it.)
“But my main gripe about Mother’s Day is that it feels incomplete and imprecise. The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat.”
There are so many people who kept me afloat after my Mom died and while she going through her long process of disappearing into depression.
I have aunts who stepped in to help me with my wedding when my Mom was too depressed to notice that I was drowning in the details on my own.
I had dear surrogate mothers and friends that continue to sustain and guide me as I navigate the rough waters of motherhood without my mom.
They’re still there, on phone calls and over coffee tables, delivering God’s love into my life, shrinking the loneliness that comes from parenting parentless.
I think it’s a fallacy to think that any of us have gone through life with only one person Mothering us. Certainly, I suspect, even those who have healthy, ongoing with their birth mothers would concede that the mothering voices in their lives were many.
And these voices, these women who took the time to see our hearts and lives and affirm and guide us should be told of the dear places they occupy in our hearts.
They are the ones who always take our calls, who listen when we confess our deepest aches and most shameful shortcomings.
The ones who throw aging hands in the air with laughter to celebrate our very best news: new babies, new homes, raises, breakthroughs and breakdowns that went somewhere and meant something.
In life there is much to mourn, and mourners, know that I will be in your throng tomorrow as I contemplate making a visit to the cemetery.
There is much to grieve, yet there is much to celebrate. It is no small or meaningless practice to look over the moments of your life and reflect on the many ways in which God sent His love to you through the hands of the mothers.
Look for the light in the midst of the holes, all the ways in which love showed up anyway, against all odds, titles or genetics.
When God’s mother love could not be stopped by death, disease or distance.
Look for this love, these women, these pieces of your quilt and then translate that into thanking.
Go, Thank, Bring, Embrace, Write, Send, Call, Do.
Do name these gifts, do honor these women.
It doesn’t have to be tomorrow with flowers, do it Thursday, or some random day in July. But, don’t restrict your thanks or keep your hallelujah silent because you find this holiday annoying.
Maybe it is, but words of gratitude are never wasted.
So weather Mother’s Day as you need to, but in spite of your weathering may your mind come alive with the stories and skin of those who mothered you, and may the life and love of these women warm whatever cool breezes find their way to your heart.