Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day of honoring and appreciating the women in our lives. It’s the day of honoring those who nurture, encourage, and love us unconditionally.
As a society we show this appreciation with gifts—jewelry, flowers, spa services, and meals in nice restaurants. Typically a greeting card comes along with those gifts, or the card is the gift itself. Greeting cards say what we don’t have the words to say on our own. According to the National Retail Association, Americans will spend $843 million dollars on those greeting cards this year.
Greeting cards tend to fall into two categories: sentimental and heartfelt, or funny and smart-alecky. But what if life isn’t sunshine and rainbows right now? What if you aren’t in on the joke and you desperately want to be?
For many families, Mother’s Day is a challenge.
Undergoing fertility treatments or waiting for an adoption takes an emotional and physical toll. Other families have had to say good-bye to their child far too soon, whether through miscarriage, still birth, illness, or other tragic circumstances that lead to the unthinkable.
What kind of greeting card encompasses all the grief? What can be said to make this all be right?
Simply put, nothing can be said that makes all this feel ok. Yet the alternative of saying nothing diminishes the reality of the emotions and the experiences.
Then what can be said? What can be said to a woman waiting to become a mother, year after year? What can be said to a woman who has placed her child for adoption and is still grieving that loss? What can be said to a woman who will not be able to watch her child grow to adulthood?
All too often we hope that there are magic words that can be said to make these uncomfortable feelings disappear. And if we cannot find those magic words, we don’t say anything so that we cannot say anything wrong.
The magic is not in the words. The magic is in the caring and the being there.
If you know someone who may not be having the best Mother’s Day, let them know of your love and care. If you haven’t been in their shoes, you won’t know exactly how they feel. That doesn’t have to stop you from simply saying “I’m here.” Not knowing exactly how someone feels does not mean you can’t ask questions. It doesn’t mean you can’t listen.
And if you find yourself as one of those who is dreading Mother’s Day because of what you don’t have, take care of yourself this weekend. Don’t be afraid to let those who are close to you know that this is tough for you. If going to church is painful as you aren’t in any group that is recognized, don’t feel obligated to go! Talk about your hopes for your family.
Celebrate the love you have. Celebrate the love you give.
Celebrate the love.