When Mother's Day is Just A Day

children church grief loss miscarriage mom mother's day May 06, 2019

 It's an odd feeling, really.

The day used to take up so much space in my life. There were plans to be made and coordinated. When my brother lived nearby he and his wife hosted both sets of parents for events like Mother's Day so I focused on bringing my part of the lunch.

And, of course finding the right gift and card.  

After my brother and sister-in-law moved out of state, the hosting duties became mine. I enjoyed planning the lunch. Cleaning the house to Geraldine standards? Not so much.

Odd that a day that took up so much space in my life is now just a day.

Maybe you know the feeling. Maybe your mom has died, or maybe dementia has steadily slipped her away from the life you shared together. And Sunday will be oddly empty.

For other women there's more pain than emptiness. It's the first year without your mom. Or the first year since the terrible reality became real to you, and you know that you will never have a son or daughter making macaroni jewelry (is that still a thing?) or Sunday brunch for you.

There are the women whose children they never got to hold, whose faces they never got to see. We call it a miscarriage but for them it was simply the death of a child. There are the moms whose children are on this planet but cut off from them by addiction or mental illness.

Not to mention the moms who had a child but no longer have a child and who always wonder if they should still claim the title of mom.

It's a complicated thing, this business of Mother's Day. If you pay attention, you may notice that there are some seats in the pews that are always empty on this day. Women have found it easier to stay away than to armor their hearts enough to get through a service platitudes about the exalted state of motherhood (especially if women are in a disempowered place the other 51 weeks of the year.)

I hope you're not in a church that asks moms to stand and awards them some kind of door prize for their fertility. One year I was in a church that did such a thing. They were trying to find the oldest mom present. They kept calling out ages and women kept sitting down until only one women was left standing.

As she began to make her way to the front to collect her corsage, another women stood and belted out, "I'm just as old as she is."

Can I tell you that it was both uncomfortable and wonderful? I can't remember what solomonic solution they found for the dilemma.

So if Mother's Day is oddly just a day for you, gather round. If Mother's Day is painful and hard in ways you thought you'd be past by now, gather close.

Do for yourself, sister,  what you need to do on this day. Observe it with a journal and a bucket of tears. Wail. Take a walk in a place that soothes your spirit. Accept the love of furry family members and don't put yourself down for loving them so.

Find your way to a church that understands, a place of courage not corsages, a place that will preach gospel and not Hallmark even on this Mothers' Day. 

And know this. 

Every tear you have shed for what is gone and what will never be, every one of those tears is sacred. There is a space in God's heart for every longing you just can't let go of, for every regret and what if, for every wish for things to have been different than what they turned out to be.

Like a mother hen, God lifts a wing and pulls you close until all you can feel is softness and safety and belonging. 

Even on this day.

Especially on this day.