In just a few days, this nation will celebrate one of our most sacred commercial holidays, Mother’s Day. The media will carry millions of odes, tributes and dedications that will reach nearly every living American in some form or another. More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than on any other day of the year.
Millions of Americans will reflect on one of the most special, unique relationships of their lives; that between a mother and a child. We will spend at least a part of our day thinking about the institution of motherhood and all it stands for. Some of us will have had or still have a personal relationship with our mothers that validates and edifies all of the good feelings and thoughts that the word “Mom” can invoke. Yet for millions of Americans, Mother’s Day will feel quite different. While they’ll still be thinking of their mother, for them it will be less a day of honor and gratitude and more a day of reckoning. Those millions of odes, tributes and dedications will serve as sour reminders that amplify the bitterness and ache of a sacred promise that was never kept.
This year on Mother’s Day, millions of us; mothers, sons, daughters and even husbands, will spend at least part of our psychic energy at some point during the day making a saddening comparison. We will consider all of the iconic attributes of a “good Mother”, a “heroine Mother”, a “loving Mother” and contrast these with the mere mortal attributes of our real Mother.
Many people, if they can be honest with themselves, harbor a level of disappointment or even resentment when it comes to their relationship with their Mother. Deep in our heart of hearts, many adults still hold our mothers responsible and accountable to have been someone they weren’t. This makes perfect sense. After all, over our lifetimes we’re told that motherhood is, by its very nature, all of the best that love and compassion has to offer. On Mother’s Day alone, millions of us will hear this very message over and over in efforts to tug at our hearts and our purse strings. (Don’t forget all those Mother’s Day sales.) These messages will feel bittersweet at best to those whose only chance at having such a relationship was spoiled because the person who had the title didn’t have the qualities. It’s one thing to miss a wonderful lifetime experience that not everyone gets to have. It’s quite another to miss a wonderful lifetime experience that everyone seems entitled to, but you. If you can in any way relate with those millions of Americans who find Mother’s Day to be less than a cause for celebration, I have the perfect gift idea for your Mother this year, and I hope I’m not too late. The gift is acceptance and forgiveness.
This year on Mother’s Day try to think about the fact that all mothers were just little girls who grew up and experienced a biological event. Some of those little girls were meant to grow up and into, the most difficult role of their lives and others were a bit overwhelmed by it. Yet all of them did the best they could, given their own personal battles with their fears, insecurities and human weaknesses. And while one of them may have let you down with her performance of the role, there is one thought that could provide you with some solace if you give it enough consideration- you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that little girl who happened to become your mother. With that, I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day.
Admin Note: Joe’s “Mother’s Day” column was originally written a few years ago, for his syndicated newspaper column. It is a timely gift of advice and wisdom for our readers. We hope you enjoy it and extend our best wishes to you, for a “Happy Mother’s Day” on Sunday, May 10th.