At first, there is the warm glow of motherhood when you cradle your perfect infant and you feel all maternal. Then the baby talks, walks, makes messes, has siblings, forgets to mention projects until the night before they're due and next thing you know, motherhood isn't about sitting around with a "Madonna and Child" glow; it's hard work and is often frustrating!
For many years, I actually hated Mother's Day. It started with a rush to get everyone dressed and out the door in time for church. This might or might not go smoothly, and at the very least, was exhausting mentally as well as physically. Once at church, the oldest moms, serene mothers with the most kids and grandkids, and other such women, were honored. Of course, I was never one of these moms, and while I didn't personally resent it, grew to realize how ridiculous this practice was! It made me think of all the moms with just a few kids, or women in the role of "moms" that were really aunts or close friends.
Then we had the "Mother's Day Message," one that seemed to be designed to take away any morsel of confidence I might have had left. Some perfect Biblical woman was held up as a role model of saintly serenity in the midst of disaster. Generally, as the pastor talked, I reflected on my own morning, my frustrations as a mom, and how completely inadequate I was. The day didn't improve a whole lot as my children somehow never got the "let's honor Mom today for being so wonderful" memo and the day passed as any Sunday would. There were occasional cards, but for the most part, dinner still had to be prepared, laundry still had to be done, and work had to be done for the school week ahead.
I lucked out in the mom department, having been raised by a kind women with a caring heart, a great sense of humor, and a knack for being unusual. She made all sorts of everyday life events seem like a great adventure. But once I had children of my own, most of our mother-daughter time was spent over the phone as I lived out of state. It is the conversations I miss with her the most.
While my own mom wasn't nearby, there were other women that together, filled this spot. There have been many women, some moms of others, some childless, that have nurtured me and my family. Generally, they were just in the role for a few years at best, but it was the combined effort of all of these women that have molded me into the person I am today. They have been role models, shoulders to cry on, extra hands when needed, and surrogate grandparents/aunts for our kids. Above all, they've loved me unconditionally, but have been willing to tell me what I needed to hear, not just what I wished to hear.
It would be most appropriate to call this "Nurturer's Day," but that might upset the apple cart too much. Our lives are enriched by those that nurture us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In some cases, a mom has that role. But it is too big a position for just one person to fill. I think this is the way God intended us to live, with the love and care of not only our physical moms, but all those others that guide us and love us over a lifetime. As we are being nurtured, this strengthens us and allows us to be available for others as well.
Now that my children are grown and are starting their own families, I feel better about motherhood. As the family grows, I gain new children, taking them in as I would my own. It is easier to be at peace seeing the strengths in your children as adults. While I was their mom, I realize that I didn't do it alone. I am grateful for the many special women that have been in their lives and will be in the future. Knowing I can't be there on the job, it is good to know that they'll have people that will take them under their wing and guide them. For my children living out of state, I am at peace knowing that there are nurturing women that take care of them just as others did for me over the years.
|Our Children and Grandchildren|