The good aunt on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is Sunday, a fact that wouldn’t have escaped you if you’ve been to a big box store or the grocery store or even the drug store, or if you’ve watched the least little bit of TV or had newspaper department store flyers fall onto your lap as you sit at breakfast.

I’ve seen plenty of blog posts this week about motherhood and mothering and wonderful mothers and mothers in need. I also saw (thanks to Ann Voskamp linking to it from her own blog) a blog post from a woman decrying the practice in some churches of honoring mothers by asking them to stand up during the service. Not because she thinks mothers don’t deserve a special day and a special honor, but because she wants church to feel like a safe place for all women, and some women are non-moms (her term for herself), who need an extra bit of compassion on Mother’s Day.

There are plenty of reasons to love Mother’s Day. Maybe you have a wonderful mother who is still living or you’re a mom of little ones who anticipate making you breakfast in bed and giving you homemade cards with little handprints and too much glitter.

But there are plenty of reasons not to love Mother’s Day either. You’re torn between seeing your own mother or spending time with your grown children. Your alcoholic mother abused you. Your mother is in the late stages of dementia and no longer recognizes you. Your mother is no longer living. You’re just not that close to your mother.

Maybe you’re the mom, and one of your children has died because a madman took a gun into a school, and Sunday will remind you there should be one more place at the table.

Maybe you’re the woman sitting on the church pew Sunday after Sunday begging God to give you a child, and all you have borne is the ache of unmet desire. Maybe you’re still hoping for a husband first so you can build a family together, and the beautiful family sitting next to you makes you smile and feel heartsick at the same time. Is there a day to celebrate these women, these non-moms?


Maybe your young wife died in a car wreck, leaving behind you and your beautiful children for whom you are now both mother and father, and Mother’s Day is a reminder that she is no longer here with you.

Maybe your mother walked out on you when you were little, and though you grew up thinking she was dead, you’ve just found out she simply walked away from you. Hallmark doesn’t make a Mother’s Day card for that.

For those of you who anticipate and celebrate the day, I say enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. But I also encourage all of you to make room in your heart and your day to cherish those who may be hurting especially on Mother’s Day.

There’s still time this week to pick up a card to send someone a little cheer and let them know they’re special to you – even if they’re not your mom or your grandmother or a mom of anyone or even a woman. Perhaps you have time to take an elderly, lonely neighbor some flowers from your garden. Or maybe a phone call or email is enough to let a friend know you’re thinking of her this weekend in particular. Maybe there’s room at your table to invite another guest?

I’ll leave you with a wish for a happy Mother’s Day and a flower from my garden.


2 thoughts on “The good aunt on Mother’s Day

  1. I have always been uncomfortable with the mom recognitions in church. I think it does cause a lot of pain that few are willing to speak of – thank you for speaking of it.

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