Sunday May 12, 2017 is Mother’s Day. It is a day set aside to honor the women who gave us life. We honor the sacrifices that Mothers makes when a child is born, the sacrifice of sleep, energy, personal goals. And this is just the beginning of the sacrifices Mothers (and Fathers) make for their children. Some mothers even sacrifice their lives, even though it is very rare today. Do you remember when we wore a red corsage to church if our Mothers were alive and a white corsage if they had died?
When a new baby comes into a family the parents suddenly realized that they love this infant beyond their wildest imagination. They had no idea they could love someone so much. But they are also fraught with worry and uncertainty. I remember when my first child was born, in November, right after the Russians had launched their first rocket called Sputnik. The race for space was on. I was worried to death that I had brought a son into the world when we were going to be conquered by the Russians.

My own journey or story of Motherhood was not easy. I had problems getting pregnant and had a miscarriage and then lost a premature baby girl named Julie. I had been married five years before my first son was born. The miscarriage and the loss of our baby were hard for me and my husband. Kahlil Gibran’s treatise called On Pain in The Prophet states that “Pain is breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” I certainly found that to be true. I was initiated into the human suffering that is our lot, the physical and emotional pain called grief. This experience was a major step on the path toward maturity.
Now, all of a sudden, I am the Mother of two sons and a daughter, eight Grand-children and seven great grand-children and counting. By the way, I have a son and a great grandson born on my birthday, November 4.
Mother’s Day is a day of mixed emotions, even emotional turmoil for many people. The ideal family, the ideal Mother may exist only in fiction or on the TV screen. When I go to church on Mother’s Day and everyone acts like all Mothers were saints beyond reproach and who gave us the perfect upbringing, I want to say, “Let’s get real here.” Many people have Mothers who were addicts, others were emotionally cold, others were abusive. Let’s acknowledge that our Mothers were not perfect human beings or perfect Mothers, and we are not either. Let’s stop looking at Motherhood through rose colored glasses. I think if we could acknowledge this truth on Mother’s Day everyone could breathe a sigh of relief. We carry around a lot of baggage about our Mothers. I had the remarkable good fortune of having two wonderful Mothers, my biological Mother and the woman who worked for me for many years and was another Mother to my children while I went to graduate school. They both loved me unconditionally and gave me freedom to spread my wings.
As I reflect on my life and the joys and challenges of being a Mother. I am a product of my own upbringing in a dysfunctional family, and who wasn’t? I learned to be strong and to honor the core of who I was. On Mother’s Day, we also feel guilty about our own children, thinking we could have done a better job as a parent. The old “shoulda, woulda, coulda” ways we beat ourselves up raises its ugly head. Most of us had children when we were very young and before we had the insight to being a good parent. We were trying to find our way as young adults in the adjustments of marriage and parenthood. We try to raise fine, upstanding adults but we are also limited beings who bring own emotional damage and hang-ups to this task.
People without children or with children of the same sex cannot realize the tremendous difference between boys and girls almost from the time they are born. When my daughter was born I suddenly realized what it was to be born female. As she grew and I observed in her my feminine qualities that had never been consciously recognized because I was living them.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a symbol of this divine feminine energy and is revered all over the world. Some women are earth mothers and some are sex goddesses. This is not dependent on body type because some very matronly looking women can be sex goddesses, Aphrodite, and some women who look like goddesses can be earth mothers exhibiting all the characteristics of a woman whose calling is motherhood.
The circle of care begins with the birth of a child, and the death of the parents and on through the next generations. Thus, the Great Circle of Being is ongoing. Gaia, the name given to Mother Earth first entered our consciousness with the photograph taken from Space. This photograph has become an iconic symbol of our home and has raised our awareness of our unity and our fragility as a human species. We are completely dependent on her as a new born is dependent on its Mother.
So on Mother’s Day let’s remember with love our Mothers as we honor the divine feminine in all women. And let’s give thanks to The Earth, our primal Mother. Let’s celebrate Mother’s Day, remembering the good times, forgiving what we need to forgive, celebrating what we need to celebrate.Because everyone and everything is our teacher.
A friend’s Mother had gone to live in a retirement community that had all the levels of care from independent living to nursing care. She was a woman of boundless energy who thought sleeping was a waste of time. She had been a beautician and a prominent woman in her community and she was not about to give up her modus operandi. She was 95 years old and still full of salt and vinegar. One night her daughter called her at midnight and discovered that her Mother was secretly giving her roommate a permanent wave. Luckily the nurses did not smell the permanent wave solution or she might have been put out on the street for breaking the rules.

My Mother was in the hospital in Atlanta and my sister and I were taking turns caring for her. My sister had been there for a week and when it was my turn, my Mother pleaded with my sister to stay and not leave me there to care for her. My Mother knew how inadequate my nursing skills were and she did not want to take any chances with me as her nurse.

A friend recounted to me that when her daughter was about to graduate from high school she wanted to have her navel pierced so she could wear a “I dream of Jeanie dress”, a harem dress with her midriff showing. The daughter was taken into another room for the procedure but the instant the needle pierced the daughter’s navel, the Mother fainted.

Do you have a sweet memory or a funny story you would share with us. Please post it on my website or on my facebook page,


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