I’m going to be honest, this is not my usual kind of post. The kind where I share antiques, beautiful table settings, and/or entertaining tips for a beautiful life.
This is a post about Mother’s Day, but a different kind. I’ll confess, I come from a long line of caring, giving mothers. My grandmother Aleida Verheuvel was a strong woman who raised 6 children in Europe during WWII. My grandmother had an incredible sense of style and wore a dress, heels and her jewelry every day. She taught me to always act like a lady, to create a warm and welcoming home, and to invite neighbors and friends over for tea. Most of all, I knew she loved me and was my #1 fan.
My Mom, Ann Schoonderbeek, moved to the US by herself with me, at age 8, to begin a new life. She was Brave. That is one thing I never realized about my Mom until I became much older. What single Mom in her right mind would leave a place where her family, friends and everything she knew was? A place where her family was amongst the “very well off” and well known and loved in their community? To move to a new country, and start a new life with an eight year old? Yet that’s what she did. She was strong, stubborn, and despite the fact that she was not the “Oh-honey-I love-you” kind of Mom, I knew she loved me with her whole heart.
This post isn’t about these inspiring, fabulous women I love so much, and miss dearly every day. This post is for the “other” mothers in all our communities. I know that for some of you, Mother’s Day hurts, and you can’t wait to cross it off the calendar for another year.
This post is for you. Mother’s Day can be rough, as in really, really tough, for you. This post is for you if you want to be happy on Mother’s Day. But instead, it brings up:
The mother who just couldn’t love you, no matter what you did.
The mother who is slipping away.
The mother you lost way too early.
The mother you had to cut out of your life, because she was toxic.
The mother who gave you up.
The mother you wish you could live up to.
The mother who lives close by, but you are not “close” to.
Or it brings up:
The baby you gave up for adoption, and have a hole in your heart for, every day.
The baby you wanted so badly, but never conceived.
The child you love so very much, but lost to mental illness, or addiction.
The child you feel you failed, big time.
The child who for some reason or another, has cut off communication with you.
I know that Mother’s Day is hard for many of you. Instead of cards, breakfast in bed and all things beautiful, you have sorrow. As a Mom, or a daughter. There aren’t any Hallmark cards that acknowledge those real feelings. But those situations and feelings are real, for many mothers and daughters. I want to encourage you to know that you are not alone. Somewhere, lots of somewhere’s, there is a woman just like you, who feels like you do. Or a woman who will love you, support you, and hold you up when you need it.
I pray you can connect with other women, who will stand by you, hold you, cry with you, pray for you and come along side you. If you didn’t have a loving mother, mother yourself. Tell yourself the things you wish she had, or allow other women in your life to love and value you.
If you lost a child, or was never able to have one, I hope that you can invest some of that heartache into loving children in your neighborhood, the children of your circle of friends, or volunteering for the good of children. There are millions of mother-less children in the world waiting for you to step into your mothering shoes and impact their lives. There are lots of good mothers with children they love dearly, who live in poverty, and need your help.
Take back Mother’s Day as a holiday you look forward to, by standing by mothers in your community, and giving them a hand up.
Even if none of these things are true of you, and you are in the trenches as a young Mom, with a bazillion things to do, care for, and handle, this post is for you. It seems that these days, there is so much pressure on Moms, with blogs and pinterest making you feel “not quite” perfect. Don’t compare yourself to the “online” picture of moms. They mostly present a snap shot of the best days. Not the days we all have, where you really, really just want to run away, or take a long bath, and drink a huge glass bottle of wine.
You are doing so much, cooking meals, paying bills, making ponytails, driving to and from, to and from, scrubbing pots and pans, buttoning shirts, making recital costumes, listening to small little voices whine, breaking up petty spats, praying, wiping runny noses, and the hundreds of other things Moms do just in one day. Thank you.
Thank you for doing all these things, with a smile, while still being a wife, a daughter, and a friend to countless other women. Thank you. Not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.
So what’s my real purpose of this post? It’s to encourage every single one of you. To thank you for giving of your life and time, and for loving your children. Thank you for searching for things to love about the little things in life that matter. Thank you for mentoring another mom, for hugging another mom when things are tough. Thank you for supporting other Moms, praying with and for other moms. All these roses are for you. Thank You.