You know that I love you.
You know that I don't deserve as awesome a mother as I got.
You know that I know you deserve to celebrated in every way possible.
But this year I need to celebrate some other people too. Is that okay?
I woke up this morning to read:
Loreena makes $333/month in a Colombian flower factory to support her daughters. Sorry, Mom, but flowers are out… at least when they come at the cost of someone else's mother.
The other obvious choice is chocolate, but you and I both know to ask a simple question these days:
The sad reality is that in most brands there most certainly is child slavery. You might like sweets, but not at the expense of mothers who can't celebrate their own children.
Please understand that I adore you, but I can't seem to celebrate you alone. Unless there are ways all mothers can be uplifted, I can't single you out anymore in ways I'm used to doing.
A mother walked into my office yesterday, estranged from her husband and forced to be away from her children. Yet she is stil fiercely in love with her kids. How will she be celebrated?
And single moms?
How often has our society made Mom's Day all about the virtuous one-time married-in-a-church woman? Single moms still experience some of that ostracizing, although I do see glimpes of profound change. Still, single moms are often low-income and have few resources to help their kids make finger-paintings or pet rocks — silly gifts that parents treasure. Often Dad would help us celebrate you, surprise you and get stuff made so that on Mother's Day morning, all was looked after. The kids of single moms are kind of on their own here. Single moms have to help their kids celebrate themselves, and… that gets hard. Who's there to lift the weight from their shoulders? Who's there to say: "I see you. You are an amazing woman. You are a fabulous mother. I love you."?
Then there are the grieving moms… the ones who can't get out of bed on Mother's Day because their children are gone. Some are dead; others are runaways; others… well…
I don't even have words to pen here. Mamas in Nigeria had their daughters snatched away, and I'm supposed to say "Happy Mother's Day?"
But their weeping hasn't gone unheard by our God. Perhaps celebrating these mothers this year will look significantly different than candy and flowers, but they deserve as much recognition, love and support as any other mother. Maybe Nigeria doesn't have a Mother's Day like we do, but as we celebrate it here I can't keep myself from thinking of grieving mamas around the world aching to hold their babies again.
So if it's all the same to you, Mom, I want to kiss the feet of those moms who process our flowers for our own Mother's Day… who lose their children to the cocoa plantations for our own chocolate… who have no access to their children because of domestic violence… who live as both mama and papa for their kids, having no one else to whisper to them "We celebrate YOU!"… and to those mamas who have lost their children in the face of the ugliest parts of our world.
These mamas have all, at some point, left the house in the middle of the night trying to find cough syrup for their babies… mopped up puke off the floor… brushed hair… bathed dirty gremlins too happy to play outside… worked long hours so food could be in the cuphboard… have been forgotten… have not been thought of… have been silenced so we could have our own Mother's Day.
I want these mamas to know that I see them… that we see them. I want them to know that they are loved; that our world couldn't exist without them; that multitudes of children, wherever they are now, are better people because of them; and the God.Loves.Them.
Is that okay today, Mom?
You know that I'll always love you. This year, I want to love you by acknowledging and loving others mamas who might need a prophetic word: "You are loved."
Maybe… maybe that IS celebrating you. You taught me to use my voice. You gave me this voice. In your caring for others, I learned also to care for others. By celebrating mothers around the world, maybe I'm celebrating your greatest character of all: love.
At least, I hope you see it that way.