Yesterday was Mothers’ Day. I don’t think my kids really thought much about it – and to be honest I didn’t either apart from being forcibly reminded a few times.
Much of my mental energy was spent remembering sad stuff.
In 1997 I miscarried my first child, a little girl, at 21 weeks’ gestation. The first Sunday after that was Mothers’ Day. That was a tough day for me as I had expected to be a mother and yet that child was dead.
I also thought about my own mother who died a little over a year ago. She valued cards and kindness on Mothers’ Day. I still think of things I need to remember to tell her or ask her and it’s weird to remember that she will never be able to hear them. She will not see my children grow up and that makes me feel sad.
At church a small gift was handed to all of the women as they left. It’s funny that Mothers’ Day has become more of a celebration of womanhood.
A while ago, following Mothering Sunday in the UK (which is not really the same as the modern Mothers’ Day), I read an excellent post by Pam’s Perambulation called On How Churches Celebrate Mothering Sunday in which she discusses the ways in which this is done within a church context. She puts many own thoughts into words better than I can manage to while trying to see through my own mixed emotions. Both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days elicit from me a mix of anger and cynicism, among a cocktail of other feelings. Maybe one day I will understand why I feel this way but I don’t yet.
God’s instruction is that we honour our Father and Mother. This means different things to different people and in different circumstances. The onus here is not on the parent who receives honour but on the offspring who gives honour.
The question of how to ‘honour’ parents when they are obviously ‘wrong’ was a common one when I was a teenager. The response that always made most sense to me and has stayed with me through all the years since, was this: To honour my father and mother means to do what I know they would want me to do if they knew the truth. I am aware of the potential to twist this simple statement but to me it meant that I would endeavour to do what I believed was ‘right’ and ‘good’. In this way my parents would be brought honour whether they chose to accept it or not. Thankfully my parents, although not agreeing with me on many important-to-me things, appreciated my efforts and believed that I was a credit to them.
For me: Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day….. meh.
I honour my father and mother in the best ways I know how to.
I give to others in ways I can, when I can.
This is enough.