Mother’s Day 2016…
It’s early Sunday morning… I’m sitting in my favourite café in Warrandyte, surrounded by empty tables many of which are already set out with Reserved signs.
Mother’s Day is a day for acknowledging and celebrating the uniquely important and highly demanding role that mothers play in the lives of their children… the profound, sacrificial love required over many years to guide their children through the rollercoaster of joys, traumas and everyday experiences that transform a child into an adult.
Expectations and realities…
Our society places powerful expectations on us all on Mother’s Day … that it must be a day of joyful celebration (expertly driven by the media and the corporate world).
Thankfully there are many families for whom Mother’s Day will be joyful… giving Mum breakfast in bed, taking her out for a special lunch or dinner, taking a drive to visit her at home, or giving her flowers and other special Mother’s Day gifts will provide the opportunity to affirm the great job she has done and express the deep love held for her. The more families who can do this the better!
But let’s not forget that Mother’s Day is not like this for everyone…
Many people have lost mothers through the natural aging process, or the tragic consequences of dementia, and many have lost mothers, young and old, prematurely due to illness or accident.
Many people still have mothers but are separated from them through breakdown of their mother-child relationship or the results of parental divorce.
Still others are separated by distance… while a phone call to Mum or an internet video chat can help fill the gap nothing can replace being able to actually hug your Mum and talk to her face to face.
And don’t forget how Mum’s are feeling…
Mother’s Day can be difficult for mums for many reasons. Consider the many mothers whose children no longer take the time to care for them, or who a child who died young, or are separated from their children by circumstances outside their control.
It can be tough for Fathers too…
Mother’s Day can be tough for those of us who have lost the women who bore our children.
Balancing the sadness with joy…
While being aware of the sadness Mother’s Day can bring, let’s not forget about the joy! Mothers and motherhood are incredibly precious and it is so good that our society sets aside a day to celebrate this.
The key is to not let joy or sadness suppress the other. Sadness and joy are not mutually exclusive. Many of us are feeling both today. Both are equally valid emotions to be acknowledged, respected and where possible shared with loved ones today.
What Mother’s Day brings for me…
Having lost my wife Rosie to cancer just 18 months ago brings my own pain to the surface. Today is also raw for my children and Rosie’s family as they remember her. However when we all get together this afternoon no doubt there will be plenty of joy and laughter as we celebrate the amazing woman Rosie/Mum was and share the many hilarious family stories of which she is an integral part.
Thirty-three years ago Rosie and I lost our second child, Anna, at birth. Nonetheless I am able to celebrate the fact that Anna was born alive and was able to be officially named and recorded as one of our precious children. Anna, I hope to meet you again someday, somehow and what a joyful, tearful meeting that will be as I give you the biggest loving Dad hug I can muster!!
My own Mum died when I was only 8 years old. She was playing the church organ one Sunday night when a large aneurysm next to her heart burst. Sadly I have very few memories of her as she was ill for much of my childhood and I was separated from her for the first 2½ years of my life.
However I clearly remember two things…
The very first present I bought and gave to anyone was for Mum… I was only 5 years old and bought a plastic rose from the toy shop I walked past each day on my way home from primary school… my memory is a bit hazy but I think it was for Mother’s Day!
Mum rarely gave me hugs (an outcome of her illness) but before she went to church on the night she died she put me on her knee and gave me a hug. The memory is very clear and precious to me. Nobody knew in a few hours she would be gone… I like to think she had some form of premonition and wanted me to know how much she loved me.
Today I am privileged to have two loving mothers, both in their nineties, who I can celebrate on Mother’s Day…
I am very close to Mumma (Rosie’s Mum). At 92 years old she loves life and especially enjoys family events. She still actively participates in the hilarity we inevitably share when we get together as a family.
My step-mum Dot is 96. She married Dad when I was 14 and was undoubtedly the best thing that happened in my Dad’s life after losing my Mum. Dot never tried to replace Mum, instead she and I became close friends. She is still a loving, caring woman who greatly appreciates all members of her blended family. Even though dementia and leukemia are now taking their toll she still enjoys life and always breaks out in a big, warm, loving smile whenever I visit.
Thoughts to take away…
Today there will be a great deal of love, laughter and many warm mother hugs shared as our society celebrates Mother’s Day. There will also be much sadness and many, many tears. As joyful or painful today may be for you I encourage you to embrace all your emotions today and care for yourself in the midst of them.
If circumstances allow, let’s enjoy and celebrate Mother’s Day to the full with our own mothers, or other mothers in our midst.
Let’s appreciate the good things about our mothers present or past (even if they had many shortcomings).
And may we all be especially sensitive towards those for whom Mother’s Day holds little or no joy and let them know they are loved and not forgotten.
Comments on: "Mother’s Day… Joy and sadness…" (3)
Beautiful heartfelt sentiments Ian.
You have a great insight into the realities of life.
Another good write Ian. As I said on the phone to you earlier, yesterday was the first mothers day in 21 yrs that I felt a tiny bit of feeling for my mum. I’d love to talk to her now, really talk, tell her how I understand. She was in deep pain with no one to turn to, unfortunately I got it.
Thank you for your ever thotfulness, in covering each corner with your words, whatever your topic is about. Jilly
Thank you Ian for your inspiring thoughts on celebrating Mothers day. Like you have so sensitively pointed out, it is a day of the bitter/sweet of life. But life is like that, a swinging between warm loving moments and sad painful moments. I think each gives something to enrich our lives in someway. It is not always easy to find the positive when we experience the pain. But just like when winter gives way to spring, we appreciate the sun and warmth and nature springing to life once more. Your personal journey that you let us share Ian is inspirational. I love the smile on your face as you encounter life and move on. Thank You!