09 May 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

It happens every second Sunday in May – Mother’s Day. Now, don’t take the following -note in the wrong way: Mothers are wonderful – none of us would be here without one, but there must be some special lobbyist organization for the Mother’s Day celebration and if you are a woman of a certain age who, for whatever reason, has not given birth…let me tell you, Mother’s Day is BRUTAL. It is probably unintentional, but people are cruel if you are not a mother. It’s the pause when you wish someone “Happy Mother’s Day” and they start to say “Same to you” and then realize, “oh yeah, she doesn’t have a kid, now what do I do?” (It ain’t that deep, just say, “Same to you” and keep it moving – just a suggestion)

It happens every year. Our church passes out flowers to the mothers on the Sabbath before Mother’s Day. You come through the door and the hostess greets you with a smile and starts to hand you a rose or carnation or whatever the flower of the day is – only to draw it back and say, “Oh, I’m sorry – these are only for our mothers.” Or worse, after all the “real mothers” have been given flowers, the hostess says to you, “well, we have extras, I guess you can have one now.” Uh, no, thank you. I’ll pass.

I mean, excuse the heck out of me. I am a “mother”, even if I have not had the “pleasure” of enduring hours of excruciating labor to push forth a child from my womb. See, there are women who “mother” who have never given birth. We are the women who step in and take care of our aging parents – or to care for the children our siblings are unable to raise or unable to raise alone. We are the women who foster the children who have been abandoned by their natural mothers, either by choice or circumstance. We are the godmothers who support and cherish the children of our friends. We are the women who support the children in our lives in immeasurable ways – praying for them, encouraging them, providing wisdom when they need to speak to someone other than their parents. We are the women who send birthday cards, sometimes with cash enclosed, each and every year. We are the women who are flooded with invitations every time there is a graduation or a birth or a wedding because somewhere along the way, we made a difference. And yet, on Mother’s Day, we are ignored, undervalued and pushed aside. Where are our Mother’s Day cards and roses?

And what about the men who have to step up to the plate? Men, who because of divorce or death or other circumstances, have to be “moms”? They learn how to do hair, tie hairbows, buy training bras and horror of horrors, deal with menstrual cycles and failed loves. What about them? Where are their roses on the second Sunday in May?

I try my best to honor my “non-traditional” moms. While I have been blessed with a phenomenal mother, there are other women in my life who have helped to shape me and mold me into the woman I have become. I thank my godmother, Annie Ruth Thomas, who is always a sounding board when life gets crazy. I thank women like Dolores Kelsey and Leah Merrifield, who were co-workers that mothered me when my mother was hundreds of miles away. I thank all my aunts: Patricia, Inola, Dolores, Ramona, Sible, Sharlyn, Glenda and Essie, who each, in their own way, fed into my life. And I thank my numerous friends who are “mothers” (traditional and non-traditional) who show me every day what it means to be a woman.

Happy Mothers Day to them all. And Happy Mothers Day to me too. Maybe next year, I’ll get a card or a flower at church. Maybe.

Be blessed.

© 2010 Kristina E. Smith
Sunday, May 09, 2010

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