The Power of Acceptance on Mother’s Day

Sometimes there’s just not a Mother’s Day card that fits. For those of you who have stood awkwardly in the greeting card section of the local supercenter, this post is for you.

Maybe you stand in that aisle, putting cards back one by one because you can’t find the one that says what you need it to. There isn’t a Hallmark card that says “It’s okay. You did the best you could and I turned out okay.”, now is there?

Maybe it’s not that you don’t want to acknowledge the holiday or let your mom know that you love her, you just want a card that doesn’t feel dishonest and phony.

Some of us have mom shaped holes in our hearts and there’s no day that you feel the ache of those places quite like Mother’s Day.

To be a mother is to put your child’s needs above your own, when necessary. Sometimes, for various reasons, mothers are unable or unwilling to do that. And that leaves children with wounds, wounds that run deep and make them question their worth.

Maybe it was substance use. Or a relationship. Or a career. Or mental illness. Maybe it was because they had mother shaped holes in their own hearts but whatever the reason, sometimes mothers just can’t be there for their children like we need them to be. And there is no Mother’s Day card for moms like that.

Even when you have done the work to reconcile that she did the best she could with what she had and desire to whatever semblance of a relationship that you can, on Mother’s Day it can feel forced and fake.

Oh friends. Standing in the greeting card aisle is when I call out to the Divine. I ask Her to shine Her light in the dark recesses of my heart and help me remember the good. Because there was good. For every hurtful word, painful choice or moment that you needed your mom and she wasn’t there, there was good. If nothing else, she gave you life.

Maybe she also breastfed you, giving your tiny self her antibodies and making sure you had a healthy start.

Maybe she protected you from the temper of an abusive father.

Maybe she pushed you on the swings and kissed your knee when you skinned it at the playground.

Maybe she braided your hair when it was wet so it could be curly in the morning.

Maybe she whispered “I love you” in your ear when she thought you were sleeping.

Maybe, just maybe, she loved you the very best she could.

The wonderful thing about the power of God’s love (and lots of therapy) is the way love can help you can view your mother and allow you to appreciate her humanity and her situation while still acknowledging the hurt she caused you. When you allow yourself to see things that way, you will start to feel a mercy and grace towards your mom that you weren’t able to before. This view can allow you to see past your hurt and into her heart. A heart that most likely has deep regret and guilt over the way she mothered you.

They may not make a greeting card for this type of mother/child relationship. But, don’t let that stop you from acknowledging the day in whatever way you feel most comfortable. There is freedom in accepting things as they are. Walk in that freedom this Mother’s Day.

This post is reworked and adapted from a previous post on my original (now unpublished) blog.

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