Mothers Day this Sunday
Mother’s Day can open a dam of emotions about our own parents and our upbringing – and that’s fine! Let’s celebrate these emotions!
Many of us, now parents, understand the unnoticed sacrifices all parenting demands. Mothers Day is our official moment to think a little deeper about these persons who, basically, shaped our lives, and who did it (and still do) out of uncompromised love.
Sunday, we might weigh how much we really know of our mothers’ (and both parents) personal lives, their feelings, ambitions and their own moments of pride and dismay. What do most of us know of our parents’ inner lives? As children we were too naive and busy to notice much. Later, do we often ask about our mothers’ feelings -- on any question? What do we know of her feelings when she herself was growing up, or her feelings about her own life trajectory? As she ages she looks back, and are we participating in any of that? How much do we know about our early years together – not just family stories, but the big moments which shaped us all, our mothers and us?
When I look at a photo on my desk of my mother, taken when I was a pre-teen, I can’t help but wonder what was going through her mind – and heart -- back then? I don’t have a clue. It’s natural that children take their parents for granted. We fail to notice their efforts and help, and focus probably on impediments they represented in our youthful lives. Are we still taking our parents, especially mothers, for granted?
Further along, we do mark the birthdays, Mothers Day, and other holidays; much further along we can end up being the parent to them as they slip into old age’s incapacities. Do we have, even then, any heart-to-hearts about our mothers’ feelings and plans?
Perhaps these subjects seem too personal and we still are shy to open certain doors in our lives together? But are we too tangled up in our own lives and careers to explore the lives and feelings of someone as close as our mothers? Yes, we often think we know family history and details of our mothers’ personal lives. But really? When, say, she turned 21?
Gift-giving is fine, but a conversation around our mother’s life would be a gift all around, rewarding us as much as recognizing the importance of our mothers’ own lives in our development.
It’s never too late . . . even in the last stages of life to sit with her and hold her hand, and listen. Ask about her – it’s not about us! – and listen. The earlier in her life we do this the more detail we’ll learn, probably. We’d be talking to the most important person in each of our lives, one of only two people we could never have done without. So this Sunday ... listen.