“All the mothers in the congregation, please stand up.” I froze at these words that Sunday in church, sitting alongside my 10-year-old stepson. He was my stepson since he was five and living under my roof and I was struggling daily, trying to be a mother to him, not realizing that even the “real Moms” sometimes fail, feeling like a fake, an imposter. And I dare not stand up as there were many in the church who knew I was not the real deal.
Mother’s Day should be a simple day but it’s fraught with mixed feelings and churches have become more sensitive to people in their congregations who may have these mixed feelings. And I think it’s good to recognize the whole spectrum of what a day to celebrate motherhood means.
Many will honor their aging mothers with a dread this will be their last Mother’s Day together. The lucky ones will celebrate Mom with the confidence she’ll be around for a long time to come. Some will be having their first Mother’s Day as a Mom, others will have yet another, surrounded by their children, even grand and great-grandchildren.
For women without natural children, it can be a true “identity crisis” day, as society celebrates the expected role of women so many are blessed to be able to take for granted.
And then there are those for whom it’s a sad day whether because of a difficult relationship with their Mother, or the absence of their Mother. I know many who are experiencing their first Mother’s Day without their Moms this year.
And let’s not forget those who “mother” in an unconventional way. Those aunts and friends, those women who just step in where needed and do what they can, and do their best, all those who nurture, for what else is “motherhood” if not “nurture-hood”?
God as mother
My own mother died when I was 16. When I wonder how I ever survived such a devastating loss, I know the answer in my heart. God has been my Mother ever since, I was never alone.
Back to that Mother’s Day in church with my stepson all those years ago – When I didn’t stand up, I felt a tug on my sleeve, and Paul said to me “Stand up! You’re the mother to me!” And so I did and so I have remained to this day.
A blessed, blessed Mother’s Day to all – and I mean ALL.