This morning I found myself in the card aisle of the grocery store, looking for Mother’s Day cards for my mom and mother-in-law.
Someone seriously needs to create a line of cards for estranged relationships, ya’ll. Maybe ones that read:
“Happy Mother’s Day to the one who gave birth to me but recently disowned me as her child because I’m gay…but now we’re trying to work on our relationship and that looks like random texts here and there and I can tell that we’re both still hurt and struggling but trying…”
“Happy Mother’s Day to my mom who tries to show love to me but then sometimes shows favoritism to my siblings because I’m the flawed one – I’m the one whose sexuality is ‘inconvenient’ and bothersome to the rest of the family so it’s easy to exclude my wife and I and pretend nothing is going on when your passiveness is the thing that hurts the most but you keep trying to love me nonetheless…”
I digress. I heard recently that while our mothers are not able to be to us today who we wish they could be, it’s important to recognize the tender moments of love, support and affection that we experienced in our upbringing. Even though it’s a drastic difference from what things look like today.
I picked the same card for my mom and mother-in-law, one that was eco-friendly and had butterflies on the front and inside it read something about them being loving, thoughtful and kind in years past and that they were wished the happiest of days. Perfect, right? It’ll do.
Since coming out, I’ve begun to dread Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because of the strains I have with my own parents that causes awkwardness on those holidays, and have become aware of the rest of the world and how hard those days may be for them as well. It’s a bit of a blessing, to go through hard things because it opens the doors of empathy to others who have done that hard thing before or may in currently in the midst of it. Estranged relationships, the twinge of pain caused by hurt from a parent, society reminding you that your parental bond isn’t what it “should” be, among other things.
We can do hard things, friends. I’m reminded of the other women in The Wife and I’s lives who are pillars of love, who are bursting with happiness at our love and life, and who are walking alongside us. Who are probably like our own mothers in many ways but are showing us something different – they’re embracing us for who we are and call it “wonderful” and speaking affirmations over us that our broken hearts long to hear. It may not seem like much but it speaks volumes to us.
As we’re on our own path of motherhood, Mother’s Day brings another ache as we now empathize with other women who long to become mothers and for one reason or another it hasn’t happened yet. We join the ranks of women who lay awake at night dreaming of creating a miniature version of themselves with big hopes and a love that already breaks their hearts, these women whose bodies aren’t cooperating and why God hasn’t it happened yet, don’t you know what good parents we’ll be and aren’t I doing everything I should and why isn’t it working and don’t you know how much I dream and ache and long for a little one to hold in my arms?
Yeah, those women.
I’m reminded of a post Sarah Bessey wrote recently, in relation to the love she feels for her youngest babe and the sweet words of comfort she speaks over the infant, and how our Father speaks the same over us. Sarah writes,
In the Scriptures, there is one little thing often overlooked on Good Friday. In Matthew 27:51, we are told that at the moment when Jesus cried out and gave up his spirit, the moment he died, the veil in the temple that symbolically stood between God and man, the entrance to the Holy of Holies, was torn in two…from the top to the bottom.
There is no barrier between us anymore, the Holy of Holies is open to us all and it’s not because of anything we did or didn’t do. Because this was a rescue, this was redemption, this was the death that made death die, this was the moment when all of creation was redeemed as Jesus swept into the domain of death and hell, suffering and sickness, sin and horror, to cure us and then rise again victorious, Christus Victor.
And when I think of that veil being torn from the top to the bottom, now I imagine God sweeping into the world, like a mother to her crying child in the darkness with that physical yearning, gathering us up out of our loneliness and our hunger, our longing and our needs to whisper: I’m here, I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here. I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, darling, I’m here. – Sarah Bessey, “I’m here, you’re not alone.”
Again, we can do hard things, friends. Our Father/Mother calls us darling and is closer than our breath and knows the desires of our heart and knows the pain we feel from mothers that have hurt us and bodies that aren’t bringing life yet. I have to trust that He knows the plans He has for me and The Wife, plans of life and love and color and vitality and good things and not harm or evil. That He loves our future babies more than I ever could and knows when it’s their time to show up on the pregnancy test and ultrasound machine. And finally, that He loves my Mama, my beautiful, generous and bursting with love Mama who is trying to love me the best she knows how, more than I ever could and even when I struggle to. And that He loves me more than my Mama ever could, even when she struggles to.
So on Sunday, let’s be gentle and kind to our brothers and sisters in the pews at service, at lunch after or anywhere in between. I bet we’ll all be feeling a bit more tender than usual.
Happy Mother’s Day to you women, mother’s or not and to you men who have played the role of a mother before. And if you have a mom and you love her, give her an extra special hug from all of us who long to be able to do that freely with our own mamas.