Mothers- a (re)definition

Mothers- a (re)definition

imageMay.  Brings to mind May flowers and…Mother’s Day.  For a large portion of the population, Mother’s Day is a great day to either celebrate your Mom or be celebrated as a Mom.

When Mother’s Day comes around, there are some women who are not among the celebrating masses. There are some women they just don’t make a Hallmark card for. I think about them this time of year…every single year.

Basically, there are many people who are not the traditional Moms that will celebrate in the way the card companies and florists would have you believe.  Moms come in all shapes and sizes.  Married or single.  Old or young.  Moms of many children or those longing for just one.  Women who have lost children or given them away for a better life.  People who have no Mom they can celebrate with. Men who live the role of both Mom and Dad. 

In today’s world there is no cookie cutter version of a “typical” Mom.  But I am more than willing to bet that every one of us can think of a person in their life who has been like a mother to them.  (Even the man who has stepped in and been both mother and father to his children.) Whether it is a neighbor, an aunt, a friend, a sister, a grandmother etc.  I imagine even if you do fall into the category of the “normal” situation, you, too, can think of someone in your life who has been like a mother to you over the years.

As much as the marketing world would like us all to think that there is a standard version of mothers who celebrate Mother’s Day, the truth of the matter is there are way too many women who do not fit into this cookie cutter mold that is so convenient.  Here are only a few examples.

When we lost our first son in April of ‘92, it was followed by an excruciating Mother’s Day just a month later. I had no idea where I fit in. I was pregnant. I gave birth to a son. I had no baby with me. Was I a Mom? In my heart, of course I was. I just didn’t feel like celebrating. There certainly wasn’t a card for my kind of Mother’s Day. The next year, I was pregnant with my now teenager. I was still so very scared, so I pretended that it wasn’t Mother’s Day. There is no card that says “Happy Un-Mother’s Day! Hope you enjoy ignoring the day!” So, 2 years after I had originally planned, I celebrated my first mother’s day like the “other Regular Moms.” I got the Hallmark card that year.

There isn’t a Mother’s Day that goes by that I don’t think about and silently thank the birth mothers of my brother and sister. Did I ever tell you they were adopted? I imagine the women who gave birth to them struggled through more than one Mother’s Day. I think about their sacrifice. Are they mothers? They gave birth. They had children. I don’t think there is a Hallmark card for them either. But their sacrifice touches more lives everyday than they will ever know. I am more thankful than I know how to express. They are special mothers. I am thinking of them.

I have close friends who are struggling with fertility problems. They want more than anything to celebrate Mother’s Day with a child of their own. To get one of those Hallmark cards like the “Regular Moms.” Mothers Day can be a painful day.

There are moms whose children are grown up and moved away. They hope their children remember them this year. They long for the days when their children were little and driving them crazy. They miss the chaos. They would give anything to be with them on Mother’s Day.

I have a dear friend whose two-year old son died just after his second birthday, just a month before Mother’s Day. She has two other children, but I imagine the pain of the child that was not with her anymore is more than she knows what to do with on this day.

And of course you have the other group of people whose Mother has died and they are lost as to what to do with this holiday that celebrates their Moms. They want more than anything to just be able to talk to their Mom on this day.  Or what about the people whose mother is alive and kicking but the relationship is so strained they cannot imagine speaking to them let alone wishing them a Happy Mother’s Day.

So, what is the point of all of this?

Here is what I would like you to do as we approach this Mother’s Day.  Think of a person that you would like to pay tribute to–someone you would like to share with us and tell us how they have been a blessing in your life.  Whether it is a person who was “like a mom to you” or a story about your own mom, we want to hear your tributes to these amazing people who have touched your life.

If you have a blog, post a tribute to this person.  Tell the rest of us how they have touched your life in a way that has changed you or helped you. Let us know in the comments if you post a tribute on your blog.  Now, if you don’t have a blog of your own, share with us your story of this person right here. 

I have to give kudos to the person who originally made the statement MOTHER IS A VERB.  It is brilliant.  “Mother” is not necessarily a person.  Tell us about the real person in your life who has been like a mother to you, the person who has demonstrated the “verb” mother to you.

Around Mother’s Day I will go through your posts and your comments and create a giant round-up entry.  Remember that something you may have to share with the rest of us just might be the one thing that another person needs to read. 

(Cross posted at BlogHer)


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