I’ve decided Mothers Day is the most mixed-bag holiday of them all. My Facebook feed confirms this. On social media this year, Mothers Day was the happiest, tear jerking-est, most sentimental celebration and day of mourning all wrapped up together in one holiday I ever experienced. The happy pictures of mothers and children hugging and smiling together, the posted cell phone pictures of springy bouquets and shiny gifts of jewelry spelling MOM or displaying kids’ birthstones, ran right alongside entries of grave markers, messages to mothers in heaven and sad announcements of this being someone’s first Mothers Day without their mom. I’m convinced and nothing will persuade me otherwise: no other holiday yanks us around with the emotional power of Mothers Day.
Mothers Day on Facebook wrecked me!
So yesterday, after our own family time ended, when the brunch plates were loaded in the dishwasher and everyone went back to their own homes leaving a warm glow of family lingering with me, I put some “Mom Thoughts” together that reflect what I believe about mothers and their children.
First, I promise you that you gave your mother more joy than you will ever know. You are/were precious to her and whatever else she had to deal with in life, you made it all worth it. Trust me on this. I’m a mom. I know. Your smile is the best, your jokes the funniest, your triumphs the most important. To a mother, a child is nearly everything in life. And by the way, I would still throw my body in front of a train to protect both of my grown sons—and their children—if needed because nothing, including my own life, means more to me. And, more amazingly, I don’t know another mother who doesn’t feel the same.
Second, you gave your mother more pain than you will ever know. When you have a mom, you never suffer alone. Your struggles are her struggles. She is linked to you for better or worse. The consequences of poor choices, the agony of defeats, the suffering of trials, the heart-wrenching problems you experience all flow from your life to hers. On some level, we all broke our mom’s heart. When she could no longer shelter us, when we had to grow up, when the downside of life slammed into us, she felt it. Big time. We bled and she cried. One of the best gifts some mothers could receive in the honoring category is a simple recognition of how we have impacted her emotionally along with a simple “I’m sorry, Mom.” In some cases, this needs to be said in capital letters, “I’M SORRY MOM!” If you and I feel the slightest tinge of guilt about good-old-mom, it is probably for good reason.
Third, death can’t break the mother/child attachment. Yesterday, an extended family group at brunch shared their memories of their moms. Strange thing, even though my mother has been gone for more than 30 years, I am understanding her better now than when I was young and she was living. I appreciate more. I recognize her role in my formation more. I remember her with gratitude and joy and less mourning every year. We couldn’t stop talking about our moms . . . and the more separated we were through death and years, the more we trilled on. Our mothers have a hold on us that lasts for our lifetime.
What I see so clearly is, even if we view our mothers through longing and an aching heart, it gets better. The pain lessens and the celebration of who she was increases. And most definitely, our mothers desire the happiness they built into our childhoods to continue after they're gone. Be happy.
And finally, to my own sons, Brendan and Justin, you have been and continue to be my greatest life joys. Thanks for loving me, a mixed-bag mother, if there ever was one. Much, much, much, much love for now and for forever on this day after Mothers Day.
God bless our moms forever!