During my childhood, motherhood is what I dreamed of doing. Of being. I always knew I would be a mum, and that it would be the most important thing I would ever do. And it has definitely been true for me. My role as a mother brings me intense fulfilment. I am often awestruck when I consider the privilege that is mine, and that of many others, of being able to spend these formative years with such incredible human beings. It is something that I will always treasure.
One of my children asked me this week “what I would like” for Mother’s Day and I wasn’t sure how to answer, because I honestly don’t have expectations of receiving anything in particular, and I don’t want my children to feel like they “should” get me something. I used to have expectations of days like this, and after a few disappointments I learned that if something doesn’t come from the heart of the giver, then it isn’t really a gift. Basically, I just want to feel loved and appreciated (although having someone do the dishes, laundry and dinner would be nice too. :))
It’s funny how things change over the years. When my children were young, my need to feel loved and appreciated was just the same. But in practical terms my desires mostly centred around the theme of solitude: a nice loooong sleep, an opportunity to read without interruption, to use the bathroom without being needed elsewhere. Now I look back and I just want to hug those children to me. To say, I no longer crave solitude, I want to be with you. Because those years, while seeming long at the time, are truly fleeting, gone like a whisper of the wind.
Now, with my children aged 9, 12, 15 and 18, my Mother’s Day desire is for togetherness, not solitude. I simply want to be like a mother hen, gathering them all together. I crave connection, and FAMILY time. Not “me time”.
Some mothers have so much “me time” they don’t know what to do with it. And they would trade it in a second for one more moment with their c hild. Today I want to honour those Mothers whose children were born too early. Or died too young. Those mothers that have no one to make them an “I love you card”. Oh, I feel your pain. Your heart wrenching grief. I will never, ever, ever forget the first mother’s day I endured after my baby died. Oh how I wish all mothers everywhere could hold their child in their arms today, to hear those precious words, “I love you Mum”. I know it’s not the same, but I’ll say it anyway. You are loved.
And then there are the women with a mother’s heart, but no no children of their own. Some will still be struggling to come to terms with their situation, and will feel deep grief today. Others will welcome children into their hearts, either formally through fostering or adopting, or informally through simply loving and celebrating the children in their lives. Some will even travel to distant lands to care for orphans and street children. Many will never receive thanks for the incredible role that they play in the lives of the children they love and nurture. Well today I recognise you. I honour you. And I say thank you.
And what of those whose husbands have died too young. Who don’t have anyone to help their wee ones prepare “breakfast in bed” for mum today. Who will perhaps spend the whole day just wishing their children would remember what day it is. I will say it for them: You are their life and their hope. You are the one that will stand beside them and hold their hands and hearts as they walk their life’s journey. You may not have your husband to walk the road with you, but those children will survive and thrive because of you, their mum.
And lastly, I want to honour those who have had to say goodbye too soon to their own mother. Those who have to go through another day of constant reminders of their loss. Who today will be feeling the pain that comes from having loved deeply. In the midst of your pain, may you know peace and comfort. And may the “extra mothers” around you bring you love and companionship.
I haven’t yet experienced that loss, although I know all too well that life and death are separated by only one breath, so I will finish by honouring my own amazing, wonderful, inspiring mother. I have so much within me that I know has come from her, and I will be forever thankful.
So today, if you’re a mother, thank you for the love you are pouring into the next generation of human beings. Nurture yourself, so you can keep nurturing them.
If you’ve ever had a mother (that probably means you), let her know how much you love and appreciate her. If she’s no longer with you, find another grandmother or mother to share some love with. Or say thank you to someone who’s loved you like a mother. Or just take a moment to remember and reflect on what your mum meant to you.
If you know someone who isn’t yet a mother, but you’re pretty certain would love to be, find some way of helping them feel special and loved today.
If you know someone who was a mother for the briefest of moments, remember that they are still a mum, and they are probably having a really really hard time today.
Let’s all celebrate the heart of a mother, and the nurture, warmth and love that she brings to our world.