The Faithful Scribbler

A Catholic Mother In A Secular World

Mother’s Day is a real double-edged sword…

on May 6, 2010

On the surface, it sounds like a great idea– a special day to honor our mothers, who give so much of themselves out of love for us!  But I have mixed feelings about it…

The Auditor and I were childless the first 4 years of our marriage.  Not entirely by choice either!  Every Mother’s Day that passed was another agonizing reminder of what I did NOT have–motherhood.  The state of being I have always desired most!  Every year, another mass, where by all the mothers in the room were asked to stand and be applauded/blessed for their dedication to, and love for, their children.  Every year, anger, longing, jealousy, pain and all sorts of other ugly things flooded through me and soured my heart.

I have many friends still waiting for their miracle child– still longing every year for the blessed state of motherhood.  Hiding in their houses for the next three days, waiting for the celebration they cannot participate in, to end.  Then they can dry their tears, re-emerge, and hope against hope that this was their last childless mother’s day, that NEXT year, they’ll get the blessing they’re waiting on.  To the childless, Mother’s Day can cut through the heart like a hot knife through butter.

And then there are those who’ve lost their mothers.  A dear friend, who’s mother lived a long and healthy life, but has since passed away.  A child, who’s mother died of breast cancer when he was only four years old.  A young adult, who lost their mother too early.  I strongly suspect that Mother’s Day is a real trial to get through for my own mother.  My grandmother was taken by pancreatic cancer in her early sixties, leaving a loneliness and mother-shaped hole in the hearts of her children, that I can’t begin to fully understand.  For many, Mother’s Day is a time of grief.

Now I AM a mother.  This Sunday I will celebrate my fourth Mother’s Day as Little Scribbler’s Momma.  My joy in mothering this child can’t even be translated into words!  And yet, on Mother’s Day, my daughter’s other mother, her FIRST mother, is burdened with heavy grief– a reminder that although she carried and birthed this beautiful child, few will think to congratulate or honor HER on this day of loving mothers.  Few will even know she IS a mother, and those that do will likely say nothing at all, letting the day pass without recognition, for fear of hurting her feelings.  Mother’s Day celebrations are another reminder to her that her only child calls another woman “Momma”.  Overwhelming grief (not just speculation on my part– we have discussed) that she was not able to keep this beautiful girl, whom she entrusted to my care.

Little Scribbler will always grow up knowing she was adopted.  She will always have access to YankeeFan, whenever she so desires!  It costs me nothing to validate YankeeFan’s motherhood– to deny YankeeFan is a mother is to deny reality.  Little Scribbler was (and is) WANTED– but YankeeFan, by the Auditor, by myself– she is our greatest joy!

And yet, her universe is too small right now for multiple mothers and complex relationships.  There is only one “Momma” box in her world, and I am the woman placed inside.  Trying to understand having two mothers at this age would probably hurt her…at the very least I believe it would jeopardize her sense of security (complicated– will post more about this later).  She has a momma, like everybody else, and that’s all she wants to know– and she’s happy that way!  Although she knows YankeeFan, I’m fairly certain she hasn’t given a second thought to how they are related, anymore than she ponders how an uncle or cousin is related.

And so I recieve the pink constructionpaper card with the brown flowers on the front (Little Scribbler prefers brown paint and crayons to any other color–she’s a quirky kid!)  I recieve the grin, the hug, the “I WUB oo Moooommmmma!” 

I hug back!  I am joyful to be her mother!  My celebration of Mother’s Day is more a celebration of my child than anything else!  Little Scribbler is a great blessing– a gift from God to me AND to YankeeFan!  While I know that Mother’s Day hurts many people, through no fault of it’s own, I celebrate my child and my long-awaited motherhood!  Not because I deserve to be celebrated, or because I have earned anything, but because I am so miraculously and undeservingly blessed to have my Little Scribbler!

So I am joyful on Mother’s Day, but keenly aware that on this day, many MANY others are grieving.    Spare a kind word for those around you who have lost their mother, still dream of motherhood, or who have lost their child.  We often keep silent for fear of offending, but a word said in kindness is usually a balm for the heart.  Spare a few for those around you who may be grieving this Sunday!


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