Friday, May 9, 2014

Mothers' Day Ponderings

Mothers' Day is a holiday which triggers myriad emotions in all of us.  Each mother-child relationship is unique; for some, this day represents an opportunity to celebrate their mothers, while for others it is a painful reminder of the loving care that was lacking in their childhood. 

We all remember our early efforts of making cards and presenting them to our mothers, along with droopy handfuls of wildflowers.  As we grew older and received allowances or earned money, our cards and gifts required more forethought and finesse.  Our efforts were influenced by the depth of our feelings, and the expectations of our mothers.

And then, we married, and this special day became even more complicated, as we added mothers-in-law to the equation.  In-law relationships can be loving and supportive or troublesome.  Regardless of the feelings involved, adding one more mother (and additional grandmothers) required a juggling act to find the perfect gift for everyone.  Often, the day was spent running from home to home to present our gifts and share in the family celebrations.

Mothers' Day took on a special meaning when we ourselves became mothers.  Some husbands understood this and helped even our youngest children to bring joy to us on this day.  Others didn't, and our hearts were broken a bit each year.  Even as we began to feel that this special holiday belonged to "us," we still spent our day in harried efforts to prepare brunches and dinners to honor our mothers and grandmothers, with babies and little ones at our feet.  By the end of our special day we were exhausted and disappointed.

Slowly, the years passed, and we began to lose these women who had impacted our lives so deeply.  Our celebrations were marked by their absence.  A tearful trip to the cemetery and memories carried in our hearts are now an integral part of Mothers' Day for us.

Now, we ourselves are grandmothers.  How thankful we are to our daughters and daughters-in-law who have gifted us with these precious little ones.  How joyful we feel as we celebrate this special day now.  Many young mothers today choose to celebrate their day with their husband and children -- making it a special tradition each year -- a wonderful way to make the day a meaningful celebration of the love between them all.  Sometimes this may cause hard feelings as their own mothers and grandmothers feel somehow left out, but I think it is a sensible alternative to the crazy juggling of Mothers' Day obligations that left us all worn out by the end of the day.

Those of us who had loving, supportive mothers were the fortunate ones.  Mothers' Day to me is one of thankfulness -- for the mother and grandmother who loved me so deeply, for my children who were my greatest blessing, and now for my precious grandchildren who are the "icing on the cake" -- the joy of my life.

Happy Mothers' Day!!! 


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