Mother’s Day Reflection

Mother’s Day is possibly one of the most bizarre holidays.  As a mother of two, I get it, mom’s should be celebrated.  I would like to be celebrated by the simple act of my children making their own bed and not complaining when I make them a healthy, well-rounded dinner.  I do not need flowers and cards with equally bizarre sentiments.  I do not want to be taken to lunch at a restaurant that is so crowded it takes all afternoon and I have to forgo my Sunday nap.

I do enjoy going to church with my family on Mother’s Day but that can be tricky too.  I just want to get up sip a cup of coffee and throw on some church appropriate clothes and go.  Instead, I spend the week before trying to coordinate outfits for the family that look like we jumped off the cover of J. Crew.  The morning of I fight with my boys and insist they wear the sweater vests and church shoes I picked out.  All while trying to appreciate the hodgepodge of carbs they put on a plate and try to serve me in bed and smile while my husband attempts to figure out the camera that he only picks up on Mother’s Day.  Not to mention the mess that is made while creating the breakfast masterpiece that I won’t be allowed to clean up because it is Mother’s Day and it will sit and fester until Monday morning when life resumes as normal and I have a yet bigger mess.  This is not how I want to be celebrated.

We finally get to church and I settle in to hear the sermon, all too often by a man who does not realize that mom’s do not want to cry about another mother’s misfortune and how she found peace after tragedy.  I will never forget the sermon preached on my first Mother’s Day as a mom.  The minister preached about a mom who had a little boy who predicted his own death.  The story went on and on and I was sure that somehow grace and peace would be the end of the story.  No.  He died.  It was awful.  I held my baby and cried.  This is not how I want to be celebrated.

There is a part of me that wants to go full force Anne Lamott on the day.

“But Mother’s Day celebrates a huge lie about the value of women: that mothers are superior beings, that they have done more with their lives and chosen a more difficult path. Ha! Every woman’s path is difficult, and many mothers were as equipped to raise children as wire monkey mothers. I say that without judgment: It is, sadly, true. An unhealthy mother’s love is withering.

The illusion is that mothers are automatically happier, more fulfilled and complete. But the craziest, grimmest people this Sunday will be the mothers themselves, stuck herding their own mothers and weeping children and husbands’ mothers into seats at restaurants. These mothers do not want a box of chocolate. These mothers are on a diet.”

Instead, I will just tell you how I would like to be celebrated as a mother on Mother’s Day and every other day of the year.  I want to  be given a little grace when my boys show up dirty with chocolate on their faces.  I would like to hear a sermon on the unique insight women, with and without children, have to care for the world and have hope for the future.  I would like to be celebrated the way Mother’s Day was intended, recognizing what Ann Jarvis did upon founding the holiday.  Celebrating the reality that mothers, women, but especially mothers, had to work for peace because they could see the ravages of war in their husbands and in their sons, in a way that was so focused and so clear that their voices would be powerful.  As for what I want to eat, I am good with a cup of coffee, two eggs over easy, and some toast with a little extra strawberry preserves.  That is how I want to be celebrated.

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