I know there are women and men and children out there who are looking forward to this day. I'm happy for you. I would wish you a happy Mother's Day, but you don't need that. You will have a great day full of love. Because somehow you've found the magic tunnel that leads to a world of joy and celebration and giving and love.
The rest of us live in a fallen world full of heartache and unmet expectations. I rejoice in the fact that some of my friends will have a wonderful day this Sunday. I ask that you try to understand why so many others don't. Please don't judge. Please don't tell us to make it a great day. Please don't throw sunshine and Disney songs at us and tell us to cheer up. For so many women (and many men) today is a day of pain and mourning. That should be respected. It should be honored.
I expect Sunday to be a good day for me. A couple of years ago I was able to redefine Mother's Day for me in a way that's really helped break through that dark cloud. Even still, there are treacherous areas for me on that day. I have to be careful. And my associations with Mother's Day aren't nearly as tough as so many of my friends. They are the ones I'm thinking about at this time. They are the ones I am worried about. They are the ones my heart is aching for.
There is my friend whose mom knowingly allowed her to be sexually abused for years. Who barely noticed her daughter. This friend is a wonderful mother and I hope the day is about her. I hope she is able to celebrate her own motherhood. But I can't imagine there isn't a twinge of pain for that mother she doesn't have. Whether we like it or not, whether we fight it our whole lives or not, there is something in us that longs for loving parents. It's part of our make up. I know she is strong and loving and does her best not to let that part of her past control her, but I know there's still pain there.
There is my friend who has never been able to have a child. She and her husband are good people. They would make wonderful parents. But for whatever reason, that blessing has been withheld from them. I have watched them reach out and touch the lives of others' children, but I know their hearts have ached for that child of their own.
There is my friend who has experienced multiple miscarriages. She has children. But her heart longs for more. Her heart aches for more. But her body seems unwilling to cooperate. I know her heart aches. I know she feels an absence.
- There is my friend who lost a grandchild she never got to know.
- There is my friend who has been disowned by her mother.
- There is my friend who has been disowned by her children.
- There is my friend whose mother was taken from her while she was still in grade school.
- There is my friend who has been told over and over by her husband what an awful mother she is.
- There is my friend who's children won't allow her to see her grandchildren or be a part of their lives.
- There is my friend who lost a child to cancer.
- There is my friend whose mother killed her father and then herself.
- There is my friend whose mother beat him.
- There is my friend who's husband and children will forget Mother's Day because they don't think it matters and she will feel as if they are saying she doesn't matter.
- There is my elderly friend who has outlived all her children.
- There is my friend who grew up knowing her mom never wanted to have children -- never wanted her.
- There is my friend whose mother abandoned him and his siblings.
- There are my friends who are single mothers, doing the work of both parents, who would love to have a loving husband tell them how grateful they are for these wonderful women who are raising their children.
- There is my friend who feels so inadequate as a mother and sees Mother's Day as a reminder of all her failings.
- There is my friend who is caring for her mother with dementia and mourns the mother she doesn't have anymore.
- There is my friend who is watching her drug-addicted mother ruin her life and can't do anything about it.
- There is my husband who will be reminded that his mom is gone.
- There are all the women who will feel guilty for having a good Mother's Day when they know their friends are hurting.
There are so many people around us who will be hurting this Sunday. And whoever thinks one day a year is enough to recognize and value all the work mothers do is crazy. One day a year doesn't begin to cover the sacrifice and heartache it means to be a mother. One day a year has turned it into a marketing ploy. A way to make money off the guilt of people who should be more appreciative more often.
But for those of us who hurt so deeply on Mother's Day, one day a year is more than enough.