As a pastor I am aware that Mother’s Day is both marvelous… and awful. For every one of us who has a great relationship with a loving, giving and kind mother there is another whose mother is gone, or was never present or whose relationship with his or her mother is pretty difficult. For each of us who has parented through borne or adopted children and has done that with great joy there is another who suffers deep grief from the loss of a pregnancy, or not being able to conceive or the death of a child. And despite how powerful it is to love a child—it is also heartbreaking and hard—-for our children get hurt and suffer failure and sometimes they get lost. And don’t even get me started on the underlying cultural presumption that somehow those who parent have some magical capacity to love that the rest of the world does not acquire. As I said, Mother’s Day and mothering are both marvelous and awful.
So this “holiday” can feel like a set up for many—with the capitalistic and culturally set expectation for relationships and celebrations that sound like and look like what happens in the movies. In my movie it was breakfast-in-my-elegant-bed on a lovely bed tray like they use in Downton Abbey. The gourmet food is presented like they do at a high end restaurant, with a pink bloom in a crystal vase. There’s the emotionally moving greeting card and some bling in a box from my favorite jeweler and it’s all delivered by two, sweet, soft-spoken, gentle, blue-eyed, tow-headed children with a handsome daddy, leaning on the doorway—grinning from ear to ear with pride and love (for me!). Needless to say—I never got the fantasy. For one thing—I never bought myself one of those silly bed trays. 😉
I will also tell you while my mother is a wonderful person who I adore and who did everything that a mother should do, we do not have a picture perfect relationship. Sometimes there is conflict, we definitely get disappointed with each other and I never seem to be able to find a card that speaks for us at the Hallmark Paper Store. Moreover, I am here, she is 300 miles away so I never manage to give her what she wishes for on Mother’s Day (which I suspect looks a lot like breakfast-in-bed on a silver platter with…).
Nevertheless, you cannot go wrong expressing gratitude for what you do have and giving thanks and the glory to God. On this particular Sunday we lift up with great praise the spirit and art of mothering and the gifts of nurture, bringing-up, care, kindness and protection offered by biological mothers and the many in our lives who gave us those things from their hearts and their souls. And so we pray for all who seek to honor God with their mothering. Happy Mother’s Day.
Prayer of Thanksgiving for Mothers
For the mothering of mothers
and the mothering of fathers
and for the mothering of others.
Mother God, we give you thanks
for those who act as midwives to our hopes,
for those who nurse us through our pain,
for those who nurture, strengthen and guide us.
Mother God, we give you thanks
for those who gently push us from the nest,
for those who welcome us home,
for those who become our family,
for the Motherhood of the Church.
Mother God, we give you thanks.
With blessings and prayer for a glorious day with your Mother God.
Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade—Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. Check out what my favorite theologian has to say on this topic: Anne Lamott, “Why I hate Mother’s Day”