How will YOU honor your Mom?

As follow-up to yesterday’s post from Lisa-Jo Baker…  I’d like to share with you something that’s been “brewing” in me ahead of Mothers Day.

 

3 generations that shaped Lori
3 generations that shaped Lori

 

I can imagine that Mothers Day is a difficult day for a lot of people (and same goes for Fathers Day, I would presume).  It goes without saying that these days could be painful or difficult for a number of people reading here… and for a variety of reasons.  For instance:  mom/dad is no longer around (emotionally or physically) or a relationship with mom/dad was non-existent or has been horribly damaged.  Maybe your parents were taken from you before you truly had a chance to know them…

 

The reality of life is that some parent/child relationships are not accompanied by happy, pretty, loving portraits.

Plain and simple, not every child had a meaningful, strong, trusting relationship with their mother (or father).   Some people simply can’t celebrate their mother or father on these Sundays.  Instead they are at a loss for emotions or hurt or confused …

 

I have recently chatted with several women who have been ashamed of talking about their rocky relationship with their mothers… as if they were alone in this dilemma… as if they are horrible people for admitting that reality.

My friends admit to watching and listening quietly as their friends share excitement about going shopping or heading out for fun vacations with their moms or talk about how their mom gave them invaluable advice … and my friends are hurt in those moments.  The inner dialogue tells them how horrible of a daughter they are for not looking past their mom’s faults or for not accepting their mom just like she is or for not loving her despite the pain she caused or for not accepting her even though she abandoned her kids emotionally… the list goes on…

As the retail stores gear up for what is one of the most lucrative shopping events of the year (Mothers Day), I wonder how many hurting, guilt-ridden shoppers are out-buying each other in order to mask the pain and in order to perpetuate the cycle…

 

Since I value authenticity, and in order to honor transparency, I feel the need to say this:  buying a mothers day card to send to my mom is a difficult task for me.  All of the mothers day cards seem to be filled with overly cheerful sentiments and lovey-dovey, oozing sweetness.

 

Face it, my relationship with my mother was much less perfect and way more gritty than Hallmark is ready to write for…

 

To send a card filled with those sugary words doesn’t feel authentic, nor can any of them truly express my feelings of deep gratitude and love for my mom.

 

My relationship with my Mom was crunchy and multi-faceted and more dimensional than Hallmark can truly grasp.

 

No, believe it or not, it wasn’t all tea and roses and happy girl time.  It was gritty, forged by arguments and apologies and full of painful truths.  There was yelling and crying and hurt feelings.  We had fun, but we also experienced lots of sad times.  It was nurturing but it was also realistically painful.

I was disrespectful on many occasions (in word and action) and despite that disrespect wounding her to the core, she loves me anyway.  She said and did hurtful things out of frustration (yes, I was a hand full) or pain and I still love her!!!

Still… it’s not all tea and roses…

 

But the memories… oh, the memories.  One thing I know about my mom is how much she cherishes the family memories.  From playful childhood afternoons feeding the ducks to week-long camping trips at the beach… to cross-country road trips with the family and bowls of hot, hot, hot Texas chili (yes, spicy chili AND a simultaneous road trip – good idea!)… to somber moments around family hospital beds (and a few grave sites) and the rending of broken hearts over a deep loss…   to holding tight to each other in trying times and in moments of wonder when joyous miracles occurred in our lives…  these memories, good or bad, are deeply treasured…

My mom values the memories (and the re-living and sharing of those memories) as much as she values the making of those memories.  And in this we find commonality…

We often sit around the campfire or on the back porch and relive those momentous times…

 

This is how I honor and celebrate my Mom’s influence on my life – I embrace the many images, sounds and smells that represent her presence in my life:  stroganoff cooking in the crock pot, butterflies, the smell of freshly cut grass, ducks, Werther’s Originals candies, Carmex lip balm, tent trailers and road maps, Morro Bay rock, any picture of my Grampa Marvin or Gramma Ruth, geraniums, a wooden spoon, a bird house hanging in the back yard, our moments on the porch, the smell of a bonfire, Gruyere cheese and fondue, her prayers, hot cinnamon candies, the whistle during church when I need to pay attention… the list goes on.

 

For my friends who struggle with the celebration that occurs on Mothers Day (or Fathers Day), it’s ok that your day looks different.  Mothers Day does not necessarily read like a Hallmark card.  Each mother is celebrated for something unique.  Find her “unique” and honor her there.   As Christians, we are commanded to do so… and it is honorable to do so!

If it helps, find someone to talk to about your crunchy relationship with your Mom, or your lack of relationship with your Mom or your hurt surrounding that relationship.  I challenge you to be authentic.  Honor your mom in that way…

Your mom would be proud of you for doing so…

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