Mother’s Day, Beyond the cards and flowers
The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Mother This Mother's Day Costs Nothing And Lasts Forever
Mother's Day, a straightforward, sentimental day to give flowers and a card or take your mum out for lunch;
But motherhood is rarely straightforward and neither is our relationship with our own mother!
The Gift and Graft of Mothering
Our Mothers are not always what we want them to be and we are not always the mother we want to be either. We are human, we have issues, foibles, weaknesses. We do what we can, we do our best but we are not perfect.
Memories of our own mothers are likely to be distorted, positively and negatively by time. We see with the eyes we had as a child. Memories of significant moments, pure joy, anger or sadness; snap-shots and emotions stand out. The endless days of life on repeat and the million acts of domestic routine are forgotten. Early mornings, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, grazed knees, plasters, cuddles. Relentless tea parties, playing snap and colouring in, dressing, undressing. Washing, teeth cleaning, house cleaning, sheet changing, nappy washing, food shopping, playgroups, picnics, play parks, buggy pushing. Bedtimes, middle-of-the-night times, early mornings, breakfasts, lunches, dinners…
When I first became a mother, in 2013, I found a whole new level of understanding and respect for my own and all other Mothers! No matter what anyone tells you, how much they explain or how ready you think you are, nothing can prepare you for the changes that happen in your world and in your mind when you have a child. I was no exception. You are suddenly, responsible for this other human. You will dramatically influence what kind of a person they’ll be when they grow up. Everything you do, every decision you make will determine the way they experience the world around them and more pressingly, whether they survive the night! It’s terrifying and exhausting but we get on with it the best we can and the wonderful rollercoaster of life goes on.
Mothers Give and Give and Give
Even when they have nothing left and they feel broken or in despair, Mothers give. Even in the middle of the night, in the middle of a deep and delicious sleep, they get up and they give. They give their time, their energy, their patience, their support and, above all, their love.
Love sustains us all. Love is what makes healthy families and healthy communities, healthy cultures and healthy nations. Give the mothers what they need so that they can give their love to their children and in my opinion, you’ll have a healthy society. And what do mothers need? Support. We need to get together and look out for each other. We need our partners and families to help us out, we need recognition and we need time-out. We need our society, our governments to recognise the valuable contribution to society of good mothering and to rank it as highly as the jobs which feed our economy. Mothers and Fathers who stay at home to 'mother' (care for and raise) their children need to feel as proud of what they do as anyone going out to work a 9 to 5.
Give Back The Greatest Gift You Have
The greatest gift you can give any mother on Mother's Day is recognition and gratitude. It's easy to forget to say the things which most need to be said. "Thank you" and "I love you" are sometimes as hard to say as "sorry" and "forgive me". But when we do say them the benefits are abounding.
I’ve talked openly with my mum about unresolved feelings and experiences from my childhood and it’s helped us grow closer. It’s an ongoing, ever developing, very normal relationship. Often open and loving with laugh-out-loud fun and other times frustrating with recurring grievances, taciturn exchanges on car journeys or outright rows in the kitchen! But the love is always there. Because we say it. And saying it gives us the freedom to say everything else.
Go Beyond The Cards And Flowers
Don't neglect to also treat your mother to a special gift and send her a card but make this Mothers’ Day really special. If you're lucky enough to still have a mother, I urge you to go beyond a card and flowers and say to your mother what needs to be said. Whatever that may be. Don't let life fly by without pausing to say thank you and I love you to the people who need to hear it most.
If your mother has passed away or you don't see her, tell someone else what you would have told her.
Even if you're not on best terms with your mother, saying what you need to say, to or about her can be a wonderful gift to yourself.
Don’t be surprised if “I Love You” is etched into all the other words you need to share. If you didn’t love your Mum, you wouldn’t care enough to be angry, hurt, sorry… Call a truce. Put aside for a moment all her short-comings and unforgivable acts, and say a heartfelt thank you, for all your mother has done for you.
If you had the tragic misfortune of being born to a mother too troubled to give love and nurture a child. Maybe there is another Mother figure in your life who needs your gratitude? Or maybe it is time to face the sadness and to express the pain and injustice of it all. Find someone to talk to about your Mother.
If nothing else, you can give thanks to your Mother for your life, she’s the reason you exist after all! (And if you’re not glad to be alive, let me recommend Zen Buddhism. But that’s another story…)
Your Children Are Not Your Children
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, not tarries with yesterday.
- Kahlil Gibran