Today is Mother's Day, which is just lovely for us mothers, but maybe not so much for those who have lost their mothers, had not-so-great mothers, or for women who wish to be mothers but cannot for whatever reason, or have lost children along the way.
With that in mind, our church's ECW wanted to honor ALL women this Sunday with a token of love.
Some women protested - "Oh, I'm not a mother!" but were pleased to be included and given a rose anyway. It really was a lovely way to acknowledge the day without beating people about the heads with MOTHERHOOD.
As I get older, I know more people who have lost their moms. Some are older than me, some my age, and a surprising number who are younger than I am. For many, it's been a wrenching loss that is felt again on Mother's Day.
And then, there are the mothers who don't have children anymore. These are even more difficult. I will be having dinner tonight with a friend who has lost both her children... A son in his teens to a car accident, and more recently her daughter. My husband is feeling nervous about this dinner, but I think she needs friends around - today in particular and feeling nervous is no reason to avoid dinner on this day. He'll be fine once we're there.
I think part of the reason it hurts to think about is because I know how I would feel. I am lucky in that I still have my mom and she's a treasured part of my life. I still have my son who is my brightest light and the center of my little universe.
I also have a vivid imagination and I know what grief I will have when my mom finally moves on out of this life and into the next. I know she will be free of pain and free of worry - but I also know I will miss her desperately, so I spend as much time with her, either in person or on the phone, as I can because I know that one day I won't be able to.
I cannot fathom the grief I would feel if something happened to my son. Words can't begin to describe the panic that strikes my heart at the very idea. And this is one reason why dinner tonight is important.
My life changed when I became a mother. In a basic, most fundamental way. It makes you almost schizophrenic sometimes. Cokie Roberts put it well: Before I was a mother, I never knew I could love so fiercely or be so angry. It's true! All that mother bear stuff - absolutely true. Much of that anger is actually fear. How could he take chances like that? If he never straightens up, he'll never be able to support himself. What if one of these stunts takes him away from me forever?
I take being a mother seriously. My job is to love this kid as much as I can, to raise him to be a self-supporting, productive and kind adult. And to let him go when the time comes.
THAT may be the hardest part of being a mother. The letting-go. It may also be the most rewarding.