As a child, Mother's Day is part of the routine. You make some kind of thumbprint gift in school, paired with an adorable, homemade card. You wake up early with daddy to make mom breakfast in bed. You hold your mom's hand proudly as you walk into Church. You giggle as you help her plant new flowers in the garden. You love your mom, she takes care of you and makes your lunches and buys your clothes. She picks you up from school and drives you to your soccer game and cheers you on. She takes you to the doctor when you are sick and plans awesome birthday parties for you. You love her, and she loves you, simple as that.
As a teenager, you roll your eyes on Mother's Day, give your mom a groggy hello, and follow along with the day's plans. You love your mom, you know she cares about you, but you also wish she'd stop nagging you. You try your best today to be nice to her, to let her have a day of peace, but you know that more than likely, a storm is brewing and an argument or two will break out. You are more curious what your friends are doing today. You hand your mom a cheap, store bought card and tell her that you love her. It's not so simple now. You do love her, and she loves you, but you fight more than ever before. You wish it could go back to the simpler days. So does she.
As a college student, you've started to realize how much you miss your mom. You got sick, and she wasn't right there to take care of you. You struggled with a class, and she wasn't there to help you with your assignments. You had your heart broken, and she wasn't there to hold you while you cried. On Mother's Day, you give her a big hug, take her to breakfast and try to savor the moment. You love her, she loves you, and she is so very proud of you, for you are starting to become your own person.
Suddenly you are in your mid 20's and your mom has become your best friend. You call her when you are sick to find out which medicine to take. You call her when you have good news, because you know she'll be happy for you, and you call her when you have bad news, because she will walk you through. You feel badly about how you treated her as a teenager, but neither of you really talk about it because it doesn't matter. It's so good now. Mother's Day is a time to reflect on all the gifts that she has given you, all the lessons she has taught you. And you are so, so grateful. You start to pray that you will one day be the mother she was to you to your own child. You watch her in awe, and are amazed by her compassion and her grace. You realize how lucky you are to have her as a mother, and as a best friend. You love her, and she loves you.
And then you both get older. Maybe you have children of your own, and she is now a grandmother. Each Mother's Day you want to honor her. Each year you watch as she gets older, and you are more and more grateful for the love that she has given you. It won't be long before you are taking care of her, giving her the same love and care that she gave to you. You will treat her like the precious gift that she is, just as she did for you. You love her, and she loves you, even on the days you are both tired and frustrated. She is your mother, and you wouldn't have it any other way.
I am one of the lucky ones. My mom is one of my very dearest friends. I love you, Mama!
NOTE: I realize the picture that I just painted with those words is very optimistic. We are not all this lucky. Many of my friends have lost their mothers. Some of those mothers have passed away, others have walked away. To those, I think of you today, and hug you tightly in my mind. I know others who were raised with abusive mothers, which is incredibly heartbreaking and I cannot imagine how hard it must be to be surrounded by "happy mother's day" greetings when it is such a painful memory for you. For you, know that you are beautiful, you are loved, and we all lift you up in an embrace. I also know mother's whose children have turned their back on them, for one reason or another, and I imagine that is just as painful. A mother should never have to be heartbroken by their own child. If you are one of those mother's, please know that you did your very best. I pray that your children will return to you.