To all the Others on Mother’s Day

To all the Others on Mother’s Day,

I see you.

To all the Others who don’t have a Mother

perhaps because of death, or abuse, or neglect,

I see you.

To all the Others who wanted to be a Mother

but can’t, perhaps because of money or biology or pressure,

I see you.

To all the Others who are Mothers

but your children are absent from your sight,

I see you.

To all the Others who are Fathers

doing the job of two,

I see you.

To all the Others who are doing the work,

who are showing up,

who are doing the best they can,

I see you.

Poem for a not-so-happy Mothers’ Day

If Mother’s Day is hard for you –
because your Mother has died,
because your Mother didn’t know how to love you,
because you always wanted to be a mother but couldn’t,
because you are a Mother and your children are dead, or cruel,
Then take today to rest and restore your soul,
to re-Mother yourself,
to show yourself that You are valuable.
Do something in honor of the Idea of Motherhood –
be creative, and kind, and selfless, and giving
to someone else
especially if they are hard to love.

Mother’s Day isn’t always flowers and candy. Sometimes it is painful.

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. This is seen as a day of happiness and joy, where we celebrate our Mothers. Moms usually get taken out to supper at a nice restaurant and get gifts of flowers or candy or jewelry.

But Mother’s Day isn’t all beautiful and easy. We pretend like it is. We fake it for the purpose of keeping the peace. We do that a lot. We don’t like to tell others that we aren’t what they think we are. We don’t like to admit our weaknesses.

There are those whose mothers have died. There are those who had a terrible relationship with their Moms and don’t talk to them anymore. There are those who never knew their Moms.

Then there are women who want to be Moms but can’t. There are women whose children have died. There are women whose children are estranged from them. There are women who have children and wish they didn’t.

What if your mother was abusive? What if she was an addict? What if she is the reason for your therapy sessions? What if your mother died when you were very young? What if she is still alive and very feeble and can’t remember who you are while you take care of her?

Mother’s day is hard for many of us. For many people it isn’t flowers and candy and hearts. It is painful. It is very sad. But we often fake it. We pretend that everything is fine. We don’t tell others our painful truth because we don’t want to bother them. We think we are alone in our pain so we don’t want to trouble others.

But what if everybody else is faking it too?

I was at a Chinese buffet recently and the manager and I have become friendly. He asked me what my plans were for Mother’s day. I decided to be honest. I tried to be gentle with it, because this information isn’t easy for others to hear sometimes. I paused, and told him that my Mom died when I was 25. This turned out to be a good thing to say. It somehow gave him permission to be honest about his mother. She had died when he was very young. She had cancer, and one day had gone to take a nap and just didn’t wake up. To this day he still misses her and is confused how someone can die so simply, without drama.

We were able to share a moment of being real together. In that space, in that time, we were real, and we were vulnerable, and we were both sad. But in our shared sadness we were stronger. We no longer had to carry our sadness alone. We knew that we weren’t alone. There was real beauty in that honesty and vulnerability and sadness.

Why do we fake who we are? Do we do it because we don’t want to rock the boat or upset the apple cart? Perhaps if we were more honest we’d actually be doing the world a favor. By being ourselves, we’d be giving other people permission to be themselves.

We will fake that we are straight, or that we live in a happy family, or that we enjoy our jobs, or that we like pop culture, or that we have lots of friends. We fake that we love what we don’t, and pretend that we don’t like what we do.

All this lying causes pain.

Perhaps we aren’t even aware of how often we fake being ourselves. It is often when people are faced with their own mortality that they open up and decide to be who they really are. Sometimes then it is too late to do anything about it.

So let’s try something. You are a mortal being. You are dying, every single moment. This life is an illusion. It is temporary. All the stuff you have is temporary. Nothing is permanent.

Yet, every single moment you have the choice to live. Every single moment you have the ability to move towards life, and be the person you were called to be. Be that person. Choose this time, now, while you can.

I offer you the best Mother’s Day gift ever – the permission to be who you were born to be, who you were created to be by our Creator.