A Few Thoughts About Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day weekend again and I have some thoughts I’d like to share. Some will not be popular. That’s okay. I’ll be the weird kid again.

Origins of a Holiday

This Second Sunday in May celebration of mothers actually began as a tribute to one mother. In 1905, Anna Reeves Jarvis wanted to honor her mother after her death, and thought it a good thing to honor other mothers as well, so she set about creating a movement to do just that. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday in May as a holiday to celebrate mothers. 

Ms. Jarvis later petitioned to remove the holiday because the florists, greeting card companies, and gift retailers had so commercialized it. She had wanted a simple day when children took the time to recognize their mothers and honored them specifically.

My Mom and Mother’s Day

My mother was a stickler for having holiday celebrations on the day they were supposed to happen. There was no having birthday parties on the day before or the weekend after. They had to be on the day. This made for some stressful times, and for some funny happenings. 

If you’ve followed me for a minute, you know that I struggled a lot in my younger years with wanting to feel accepted. That led me to a moment I’m not proud of at all. It was Mother’s Day weekend and a coworker invited me to join her at a jazz festival about an hour from home. Without a second thought, I jumped on the chance — even though I knew little of jazz. I wasn’t even sure I liked it! 

I’ll never forget Mom’s reaction, the tears in her eyes, her crestfallen look, when I told her I was spending that Sunday with a friend without inviting her to join us. There’s a lot more to unpack in this, but that’s for another time. Suffice to say, the festival was okay, not stellar. I got to hang out with a friend, but the memory of Mom’s face prevented much enjoyment. 

My Son and Stepsons

My son has always had the tenderest of hearts. From toddlerhood, he would gift me with flowers and pictures and hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. The freshly bathed ones, the sticky ones, the messy ones, the stinky ones, the wild, knock-you-over ones. Those are still some of the most beautiful memories I have. When he was in school, whether daycare or educational, he would join in the creation of the current Mother’s Day project. Like most moms of that time, I had so many macaroni pictures! 

When Jack and I married, I added two stepsons to the mix and received several wonderful gifts from them as well. 

“I’m not your mom!”

Shortly after Jack and I got married, he was laid off from his job, working a lot of hard hours to put food on the table for his family of five. Mother’s Day came along and he was helping the boys come up with gifts for me, plus something for his mom and me. This may be an unpopular opinion, but it’s my heart. 

We had a conversation where I told my beloved that I am not his mother, so he does not owe me a Mother’s Day gift. Would I like to receive one? Sure! Who doesn’t like getting gifts? My heart is that this day for me is to receive from my children. I’m also simple enough that those macaroni pictures or drawings were the epitome of “I love you, Mom” and all I really needed. 

Adult Children

My boys — they are all in their 40s now, but they’re my “boys” — don’t generally get me gifts now. I get phone calls and text messages that wish me a good Mother’s Day. My son is a man of words (where did he get THAT?) and will recall memories and expound on his love for me. 

These gifts are supremely precious to me. See, my boys are busy living life. They have their own families now. That they would take time out of their day to call me or text me? Heavenly! 

I could complain. I could feel like they owed me more. I mean, I was in labor for nearly 24 hours bringing that one into this world. But to me, being able to bring that boy into the world and raise him up is one of the greatest honors and blessings I have ever had. I should be sending HIM gifts and blessings on the second Sunday of May.

Mother’s Day Without Mom

Mother’s Day has been different since 2015 when Mom changed addresses. She went to heaven and left the rest of us here. I can’t call her and tell her how much I love and appreciate her. I can’t take her out to dinner for Mother’s Day. I can’t show up at her church to bless her. I can’t bring her flowers. That’s sad. That means that celebrating Mother on this day each year has become different. 

What I try to do now is to live every single day in ways that honor her. Ways that cause people to know that she was a fine mother, a godly mother, a mother who loved her children deeply. See, I wasn’t the only child Mom had. I’m the only one she got to be there for. Even so, she loved the other three deeply, praying for them and cheering them on, even when she didn’t know what was going on with them. 

More Children Than I Realized

I have recently realized that I have more children than my boys. I have daughters-in-love and grandchildren, but even beyond that. 

God has allowed me to step into the lives of others to provide love and acceptance for people who need it at that moment. Whether it’s as a prayer partner, a discipleship leader, a ministry assistant, or as a transformation coach, I get to be a nurturing, loving cheerleader and advice-giver for many. And that is a blessing I think my heart knew, but it took a while for my brain to click on. Okay, yeah. I’m a little slow. 

I may never get a “Happy Mother’s Day!” greeting from those folks, but it is the mother’s heart that has worked with them and for them. See, moms want the best for their kids. They love them enough to keep them from making poor choices. They love them enough to hold out their hand to be their rescue from poor choices. They love them enough to hold them accountable to the things they say they want. And they cheer those kids on to being their best in every endeavor in life. 

Choose Your Response to Mother’s Day

I know there are many of you who don’t like Mother’s Day for whatever reason. That’s absolutely fine. I’m not a fan of certain holidays myself. The thing is, others love this holiday and we have to make a choice about it. Are we going to allow our grief, anger, or spite to remove us from their joy or are we going to join them in it? 

I am NOT saying that your grief, anger, or spite are wrong or should be stuffed down inside and not given space to heal. What I’m advocating for is your response. We know the old saying that misery loves company, but do we really want to bring people we care about into the misery we’re feeling? 

Scripture tells us to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice. If your heart is breaking on this Mother’s Day, please let someone know. Allow those who love you to weep with you. At the same time, choose to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Allow your broken heart to heal a little at a time by choosing joy. 

What about you? What thoughts do you have about Mother’s Day?

Faye Bryant

Faye Bryant is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals escape the lies of the enemy, live into God’s truth, and build a better life by first feeling, dealing, and healing their way through a stuck future or an abused past, toward a deeper path of purpose, and into the unhackable life of their chosen legacy. Hers is a story of resurrection: from death to life!