a few years ago i was asked to speak in church on mother’s day. i somewhat reluctantly agreed. 25 and “separated,” i was feeling pretty sorry for myself at the time. i was in the midst of a divorce that was taking months to finalize while the majority of my friends were celebrating their first or second mother’s day as a mother.
i had grown a little bitter. not extremely bitter, but a little. i was intentionally skipping out on lunches with friends who had new babies and passing on baby showers. how could i be happy for them while my heart ached because of the loss i had experienced? i was tired of people asking me, “how’s it going” with a somber, deathly tone in their voice, as if to suggest i was dying or something was morbidly wrong with me. i knew deep down people meant well, but i was tired of feeling crappy and tired of everyone feeling bad for me.
that week, as i struggled and struggled to come up with a good talk about mother’s day, my ability to put clear thoughts together was constantly clouded with my feeling sorry for myself about not being a mother yet. i wanted that so badly and felt like that possibility was so out of reach and so far in the future that it would maybe never happen. logic told me it probably would, but my heart ached so much at the time that it felt like a fantasy for fairy tales instead of a reality for me.
as i prayed and i asked my heavenly father for humility and clarity on what to say, i made a realization that put everything perfectly and clearly into perspective. everyone has a mother. no matter what situation we’re in or what we’re struggling with, whether that’s divorce, not marrying yet, infertility, loss of a child, or a myriad of other scenarios, each of us has a mother to which we undoubtedly owe more gratitude than we can ever adequately express.
that sunday, after i gave my talk, i remember just hoping that my thoughts came out clearly and that people understood what i was trying to convey. it turned out there were many, many other women in the congregation who felt the same. two girls in their early 40s told me how nice it was to hear a message from someone in a similar situation – not a mother but longing to be one. they told me how powerful it was to hear just that one line: everyone has a mother. it helped me too, to realize that they had gone through far more years than i had at that point, of sitting through mother’s day programs in church and feeling sad to not be a mother yet.
this is my first real mother’s day as a mother. i am so grateful to be a mommy to my beautiful little girl. i won’t deny that it’s the most amazing and joyful thing i’ve ever experienced. i would be ungrateful to not acknowledge that my little girl is the greatest and best blessing i’ve ever received.
but mother’s day still is and always will be, to me, about MY mom. i love her and am eternally grateful for the sacrifices she made for me throughout my life. for all the late nights she stayed up helping me with a school project. for the hours she spent in the car driving me to two or more piano lessons a week, an hour each way. for the patience she had with me when i made mistakes over and over and over.
to anyone who is feeling sad or experiencing loss this mother’s day, my heart goes out to you. i don’t know exactly how you feel, but i do know gratitude feels a lot better than grief. and everyone can choose to be grateful, because everyone has a mother.
happy mothers day.