Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day in Real Time

photo by Charlie O'Shields / flickr
Sunday is her day. Mothers will be inundated with flowers, perfumes, fancy soaps, candy, greeting cards, and corsages. Restaurants will be filled and running over. Amazon and UPS will do a booming business. Pews in churches will be packed with proud Mamas and her brood—some who have come from a long way and haven’t had a tie or hose on in years. The audience will be peppered with buttoners of white and red roses—depending on if your Mom is alive or not. Sermons will pull out all the heart strings and preachers will extol the wonders and joys of motherhood. 

photo by
Ewardo Fonseca Arraes /
But on Mother’s Day we forget all those who find the day hard. Those who were raised or abandoned by a Mother. Those who were abused or emotionally crippled by their troubled Mama. Those who tried again and again to have children and only experienced failure. Those women who years ago had an abortion and think daily about what if. Those others who gave away their child and wonder where they are and how they must look. And then there all those others who buried a child from Iraq, or an auto accident or drugs or suicide. 

Let’s bring Mother’s Day into the real world. If we want to make this day meaningful let us begin to honor all year long the women who birthed us. Let us ponder the mystery of how many of them did so much with so little through the years. Let us think of all those mothers who stand in front of steaming trays serving us or bringing our meals to the table. Let us remember all those who try to make do on minimum wages. Let us not forget that large number who have been abused sometimes for years by some husband or partner. Let us add all the male legislators who have proposed invasive techniques on rape victims, who intone piously about the tragedy of abortion not ever thinking of the pain and heartache of many of those decisions. Legislators that block family leave for new mothers, that sneer at all those who cannot live without their meagre food stamps. And we
photo by Jerry Lai / flickr
cannot leave out those who sit for hours on end in emergency rooms ashamed when asked what insurance policy they have. Let us remember all the women in the workforce who will be paid only about 75% of what their male counterparts make. And us not forget on this Mother’s Day weekend all those mothers around the world—some starving, some stoned and abandoned because they were raped. Many undocumented mothers scared daily they may be sent back to a place they fled in desperation. All those who never in all their lives have known anything but sickness and trouble and heartache.

Maybe this is a downer. But maybe we only have to look outside, watch TV or read a newspaper to know that this Mother’s Day is set down among a multitude of injustices toward women. We must move beyond the sentimentality of only thinking of only our good mother and what she did. I have been blessed by a woman who was as great a mother hen that you would ever find—yet we must not stop until we make provisions for all the women, mothers or not. I am very glad someone years ago decided to honor mothers with a special day—but we must now stretch its meaning and its power until all women are taken in and none are left out.

photo by Meesh Rheault Miller/ flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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