You’ve seen the ads, the social media posts, signs in the windows — all getting ready for a day that many people impatiently anticipate or dread. Yup, it’s Mother’s Day again. When some children can’t wait to surprise their moms, mothers think it’s all about them, and dads are thinking, “Do I really have to wait another month for MY celebration?” But it can also be a day of grieving a mom who’s no longer with us or one we never had the chance to meet. So, I thought I’d share some thoughts not just for moms, but for everyone on this day.
If you’ve got a new or newer mom in your family, you’re probably trying to figure out what to get that is celebratory of new motherhood. Well, I can share what has worked (and didn’t) for me. I’ll always remember my very first pre-Mother’s Day gift when I was pregnant — a beautiful print of an Erte painting. It was bold, beautiful, and unique; everything I hoped I would be as a mother. But I’ll also never forget my actual first Mother’s Day gift — a dustbuster. My, how my life had changed so quickly. Our first child was about nine months old, and I guess my husband at the time thought that it would be useful. Yes, it did help to get all those crumbs and Cheerios under the high chair. But a dustbuster? In one year I felt like I was first being seen as a woman who was full of wonder and mystery and then suddenly as the housemaid. So, if you’re considering buying a gift for the mothers in your life, please DON’T give them a household item to help with chores!
The young kids are most likely very excited to give that creative piece of artwork they hope Mom keeps forever in the family treasure boxes. (Moms, if you throw these away, you may not want to do it in front of your kids.) Mother’s Day can be a great day for multi-generational time with all the moms in your family getting together and sharing the children’s birth stories for the umpteenth time. Some of the family may not want to hear these again, but there’s perhaps nothing more sacred than oral storytelling of our family origin stories. In one afternoon, we can all be reminded of just how special and human we all are. Children never get tired of hearing how wanted they are in the family and the world, even if they came by accident. And the mothers I know never tire of hearing how appreciated and loved they are, no matter how old.
But for some, it can also be a painful day of grief. For those of us who have lost or have never known our moms, it can be a reflective time of vivid memories of what once was or those wished but never were. This year, may we remember the joys we had and also honor our resilience for living the best life we could no matter what was given to us.
So, may we all be gentle and loving on this day whatever our circumstances might be. Hopefully, we can all find a way to celebrate (and/or forgive) the moms around us, from us, and within us.
Former Colorado state senator, Linda Newell is a writer, instructor, facilitator and conflict and DEI coach. Senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell on Facebook.