Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day(s)

    It's odd, really.
    Why do we have a single day where people buy flowers, cards, presents, make meals, share food to honor their mothers?
    The work that mothers do is nothing short of amazing.
    I'm not writing this to be gratuitous or score points with moms. I am amazed and humbled by the women I know who run their households, at the women who care for children.
    So many of the students at my school are raised by single moms or grandmothers. Having a "life" of your own and raising a child are usually mutually exclusive.
    The mothers at school have their own challenges, and then do their best to raise children in tough environments. They do the best they can with what they have.
    They are never thanked enough. No, thanked is the wrong word.
    They are not recognized and respected enough for what they do.
    I think of former students, now women in their 20s and 30s. Some are married and have young children. They post pictures and happy comments. But we know how challenging their lives can be, and how drastic the changes the children bring to their usual existence.
    One former student in particular got married and had a child with the best intentions. But the husband has left the scene, the couple divorced, and she's on her own and struggling. She's doing the best she can.
    Kate always talks with such normalcy that what she does as a mother is just what is needed. No big deal. I look at that in complete amazement. Her strength, courage, and selflessness will be an example to her daughter in the future.
    A woman I know does not want to go to her church this morning. All the mothers stand up and are recognized by the congregation with applause. But what about the mothers who are divorced and raising a child on their own? Will they willingly stand up with no husband by their side?
    What about the gay women who want to have children? What about the women who desperately want to be a mother but physically can't?
    And I consider my own mother. She has been a rock throughout my life, supportive and loving. I credit her for every adventure I've taken in my life. She support the adventure, offers her love when the journey is more challenging than imagined.
    This spring, she hired a career counselor to work with me, now 50, to create a resume. After a lot of talking and thinking, she completely supports all of the recent changes in my life, fully embracing Kate and Sarah as well as the career change.
    Many people will say today that one day is not enough to honor our mothers.
    One day is not enough to honor all the women who raise and care for children, their own and others.
    One day is not enough to recognize and accept the selfless work they do every day to make someone else's life better.
    On June 3, July 18. Random days. Random times. Bring your mother or woman who cares for children some flowers, bring them a meal. Let them sleep in.
    Just because. Tell them thank you every day. Tell them you love them every chance you get.

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