As many of you may know, the start of Mother’s Day dates to the 1870’s with an appeal to women to join in support of disarmament. Of course, other attempts to make honoring Mothers a part of our society along with Father’s Day continued until the initiative of Anna Jarvis in the early 20th century to honor her Mother, Anne.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson finally declared Mother’s Day a National Holiday.
Anna grew tired, though, of how commercialized the holiday had become and tried to have it removed as an approved holiday.
Of course, we all know that she was not successful.
Oftentimes, when we celebrate Mother’s Day, our society assumes everyone celebrates their mothers. However, not everyone has a mother to celebrate. Not everyone has a healthy maternal presence in their lives. Some may remain noticeably silent. Some may be resistant. Some won’t tell you how they feel at all. After all, it’s socially taboo to speak poorly of your mother around the only day of the year that’s supposed to be dedicated to her.
I believe however, that the day still has a purpose in our lives.
To me, personally, it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come.
Most of you know of my relationship with my Mother. Believe it or not, it was contentious at the start.
For years, I found it very difficult to even shop for a Mother’s Day card. The cards available were never what I wanted to say, never what I felt. The same problem happened on Father’s Day.
No, it’s not that they didn’t convey love for Mothers…my difficult relationship with my Mother was never expressed on the cards. The cards that expressed love for Mother, for all the wonderful things that Mothers do for their children, I just couldn’t relate.
For many of you, this isn’t a surprise. For some, it is a surprise. Many of you know that I would call my Mother nearly every day just to touch base and make sure she was ok. And I had been doing this for years, not just since I moved here. And now that she has passed, I still think, ‘it’s time to call Mom…’
I had been my Mother’s caretaker more than she had been mine for many, many years.
So, what changed? My grandmother, my Mother’s Mother, died. And at that funeral, I heard my Mother say how she hated her Mother. And from that day on, I worked on changing the relationship I had with my Mother.
I didn’t want to hate her.
You may wonder why she would hate her Mother…that’s easy. The history of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse travels through a family until someone stops it.
So, it took much effort to overcome the feelings of abuse, neglect and not receiving much nurturing to get to the place where I still am with my Mother today. Lots of counseling and soul searching.
And I am so glad I did that. It took a huge step in the direction of achieving a relationship with her. It wasn’t just a normal Mother-child relationship, it was a best friend relationship…a confidant relationship. We could tell each other anything. We could chat for an hour about anything and everything without a second thought.
I miss my Mother; sometimes so much it hurts. And that surprises me.
I thought I had my relationship with her under control. I thought I knew exactly where I stood with her, finally. We had a great relationship for the most part. Sometimes she would travel back to her old self and say something hurtful, but I eventually learned to understand her, to understand her old Italian ways and thinking.
And she told me how much she loved me, and I now believed it.
So. I am still surprised at how much I miss her, just over a year that she has transitioned. I miss our chats; I miss her heart I could say anything to, and she would have words of encouragement.
She thought I was the best daughter, so wonderful as a Spiritual Leader. She always told me that she loved me so much. I kept some phone messages of hers just so I could still hear those words.
Yes, she surprised me. I thought I was ready for her passing. I was so very wrong.
So, I understand how some of you may feel about Mother’s Day…it can be very difficult. But it says in Exodus 20:12 Honor thy father and thy mother.
You might say, “Yeah, but my mother wasn’t honorable!” Well, the Bible says nothing about that qualification…it only asks, is she your mother!
And in 1 Peter 4:8 – ‘Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins – we would say errors.’
So, to get past the idea of what a Mother SHOULD be, in my mind, I love her, unconditionally. And I understand that she did the best she could do at the time with what she knew.
It took a while. But it can be done.
Most of us probably do not need a reminder to love and honor our caretakers, whether they were Mothers or Fathers or Aunts or Uncles or even Grandparents. And we must not forget those Foster Parents and those who are not blood relatives but ‘relatives’ just the same.
My point, we are all male & female; made in the image of Mother/Father God. So, whoever raised you to who you are today, let’s honor them. Let’s honor the mother energy in all of us.
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you.
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you.
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you.
To those who have worn the face of Mother and Teacher these weeks, we are standing behind you.
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you.
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you.
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you.
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you.
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you.
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience.
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst.
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be.
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths.
To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart.
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you this Mother’s Day, we walk with you.
Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
So, we honor all, not just the caretaker of a child, but wherever the feminine principle resides there is a requirement for the caring, loving roles of mothers.
There is the mother energy in every human. It’s in you and it’s in me. And it’s in every human and I would say, every animal too.
So, let’s ask ourselves, who are our mothers? Was it your birth mother, a stepmother, your mother in law, maybe some other relative or friends? Where their teachers in your life that helped to fill a void that may have been there? There were for me, fortunately.
How about yourself?
Have you’ Mothered’ yourself through the years? How about recently? We all need that energy from time to time, especially now.
Remember, wherever the feminine principle resides, the “Mother” in us resides.
I ask you to really look at this question today and this week. Where do you see, and better, “feel” the feminine energy? It is a healing energy that is strongly needed today and all days.