Growing up, I always knew what Mother’s Day was going to be like….starting at 6:00am.
My dad would come wake my sister and I to help get mom’s special Mother’s Day breakfast ready. Our first job was to wash and slice a whole bunch of strawberries. We’d add a little sugar so that by the time everyone finally sat down to eat they’d be sitting in their own strawberry syrup. Dad would make eggs benedict that was perfectly timed and ready exactly when it was time to eat. He had us set the table with the nice china and stemware. He even served mom’s strawberries in that. There were always fresh flowers on the table and we were instructed to prepare breakfast as quietly as possible so we wouldn’t wake mom up. (She was awake anyway, but it was a nice thought.) After breakfast, we did the dishes together (again without mom). Dinner was an even bigger production. I’ve been out of the house for a long time now, but I am 100% positive that nothing has changed.
My dad is really good at Mother’s Day. My mom is also really good at Mother’s Day.
See, my dad shows my mom he loves her and appreciates her by spending nearly the entire day in the kitchen and telling her to relax and go take a nap. Let’s assume, though, that my mom woke up hoping for something else. Maybe a drive in the mountains… maybe extravagant gifts… maybe all she wanted was a love letter acknowledging all she does for her family. And instead the gift she receives is a thoughtfully prepared meal.
The thing is when a gift is given and it’s not what we expect, we have a choice… a choice to receive love or push it away. We either get to choose to look at what it is, or what it’s not. I think one of those choices leads to happiness and fulfillment in life whether we’re mothers or not. The other leads to misery and frustration. Being happy is nothing more than a choice… on Mother’s Day and every other day.
It seems whether we are spending Mother’s Day being treated to extravagant meals or waking up to Cheerios and milk being spilled in our beds or with the painful realization that once again Mother’s Day has come and we are not able to celebrate it with our own mothers or with our own babies, there is something to celebrate. There is some awe to be found in mothering and the deep down, beautiful, nurturing instincts that you and I share as women walking this earth.
No matter how life finds you when you wake up this Sunday, here’s what I hope for you…
I hope you will find a quiet place and think about what mothering means to you. What ways you give it and what ways you receive it. I hope you will remember how profoundly sacred it is to mother… whether you’re mothering your children or somebody else’s.
I hope you will take a minute to honor the women who mother you.
I hope you will remember that there are children… little ones and grown ones… all over this world who need the kind of love only you can give. I hope you’ll find as many ways to give love as you can and dedicate your life to giving it.
I hope you’ll be able to see what’s here, instead of what’s not. Some mothers will receive gifts that are not to their taste, some won’t receive gifts at all, others will wake up with an ache where their mothers used to be, or with an emptiness and longing where children should be. I hope you and I will be able to look past all of the things that aren’t here on Mother’s Day, and instead look at all of the things that are. I hope we will find something to celebrate and find beauty in.
Mothers… sisters… please know how deeply beloved you are and how needed and important you are in this world. Whether somebody tells you or not, I hope you’ll know in your soul what a deep impact your goodness makes on this world.
Happy Mothers Day to mothers of all kinds everywhere.
PS I don’t have words to describe what it must be like to have lost a mother, or worse, I think to have lost a child. I also don’t know the pain that comes with waiting and waiting for children that sometimes never come. I hope my words are not painful ones, they are not intended to be. If Mother’s Day is a day of grieving for you or someone you love, I hope you’ll honor that, too. <3