As I left work the other day, the women in my office wished each other a weekend farewell and a Happy Mother’s Day. I returned the gesture on my way out and as I walked to my car I had thought upon the earlier years in which I dreaded Mother’s Day.
We see it in the commercials, find it plastered in the mail, drive by and see the signs of the Happy Mother’s Day specials. Forever noting it in our memory, mother’s are greeted lovingly by their children, hugged and kissed, and given wonderful accolades to being the greatest mom in the world.
But for countless others, Mother’s Day almost seems like a curse; a curse that is filled with struggle, fear, anxiety, depression and a multitude of roller coaster emotions that are hard to deal with.
One year our daughter ran off. Another year she had suicidal thoughts. A year after that she was walking around in full Goth attire. And of course, there was the year in which she was covered in self-mutilating marks. And let us not rule out our other child who had her own difficulties too.
On top of all of this, two years in a row I lived with depression. I had often wondered if I deserved this painful life. “Why does it have to me that goes through this,” I questioned God?
I was very envious of others during this holiday which only drove me to more discouragement. I wanted so badly to have my children tell me that they loved me and that they were proud of me and glad to have me as their mother.
Looking back on those years, I know they didn’t have it within them to give those things to me. They were broken, hurting, sad, and confused teens who were in crisis.
So instead of looking to others on Mother’s Day, I started to celebrate me. I gave myself permission to go out any chosen time or day and do something fun. I stopped at coffee shops and picked up my favorite French Vanilla coffee and a bagel. I would watch a great movie late at night and eat popcorn or snuggle in my bed and read a book. Although those times were minuscule, I did what was necessary to keep my sanity and asked God daily to help me get through each day, good or bad.
Today my oldest lives far away at college getting one of her degrees. My youngest told me today to enjoy my time alone and do what I want to do because I deserve it. Yes, Mother’s Day is very different now. But I take it all in stride. I don’t live up to the expectations that the world dictates you to be as a mother. I live up to God’s expectations and He knows exactly where my heart is and what I have been through.
So, if you’re having a rough time thinking about Mother’s Day, just know that God understands. Today, give your children to Him as His responsibility. After all, He is their Heavenly Father and knows exactly what He is doing.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.