For a lot of women, Mother's Day is the day when their successes and value as a Mother is applauded by all far and near. If they have adult children, they call home or come visit for some combination of food, flowers, conversation, and possibly a walk or a movie. Those with younger children may be treated to all manner of homemade gift by teachers that love any excuse to break out the arts and crafts. This is all wonderful, obviously, but there is another group of mothers who we don't readily acknowledge for whom Mother's Day looms as a painful reminder of exactly how much they don't fit the norm.
This post is for them.
For the mothers whose children yell at inappropriate times, garnering them hard side-eye and loud whispers from everyone around them;
For the mothers who have children with behavior issues are that aren't as easily handled as the people giving you condescending, contradictory advice that you have already heard 50 times, tried, and already know that it either won't work, or will only work for a few minutes;
For the mothers who did everything they knew how to do: made sure their children went to school, took them to church, loved them, disciplined them, asked them about their day, and REALLY listened when they answered, and the child still made one or more truly bad decisions and is now incarcerated or dead;
For all of the mothers whose inner demons drove them to unspeakable pain, pain that translated into absent, neglectful or abusive parenting, and now their children are no longer with them;
For the mothers whose children have given up on life, despite their best efforts to encourage them;
For the mothers who children exist in that grey area where they doing neither poorly nor well: in reality, they aren't doing much of anything;
For the mothers who were imperfect, whose children are struggling, who now face down stares, whispers and judgment from family and friends;
For mothers for whom Mother's Day is a reminder of their frayed relationships with their own mothers:
I am one of you. I understand, and I salute you. I know the road you walk is not an easy one because I am currently on that path. We are those who will never really know what kind of parent we were because are children are not on the same path other children are. We get the occasional pat on the head or hand as assurance that we have not totally screwed up, but internally we can't help but look around us, wondering what our lives would be like if we were "normal" mothers.
We will do all of the right things on Sunday. Some of will go to church, smile with everyone else, and accept the greetings of the day. Someday, we hope, everything will be alright, or normal at least. Until then, at least on the inside, Mother's Day is just another day.