I have a distinct memory of being in church one Mother’s Day, and the speaker inviting every woman to take a flower as she left the auditorium. A “happy-mother’s-day-flower.” Honestly, the notion confused me. Wasn’t today just about the mothers? Weren’t we supposed to make them feel special, let them stand out? I was a young woman, unmarried and nowhere near motherhood. Looking around the room, I was certain many of the women holding onto those single stems were not mothers either. But as encouraged, I took a flower and feeling my cheeks warm a little, left that day without much thought.
I have revisited that service, held that flower in my mind many times since.
Since that day, I’ve become a mother myself. I’ve experienced the preparation, the anxious waiting, the painful growth and joyful arrival of my children. I’ve also seen and shared and lived through the shattering pain of pregnancy loss and infant loss. I’ve lived through the diapers, the potty training, the first steps, first words, first days, with many more to come.
I’ve learned and am still learning the immense breadth of motherhood.
That day, all those years ago in church, I saw mothers, and I saw non-mothers. I did not see the yawning spectrum before me. I did not see the women who yearned to hold their children, unborn or born and gone to soon. I did not see the mothers whose children had turned away from their faith, their families, their God. I did not see the mothers who ached for their physically or mentally ill, addicted, or incarcerated children. I did not see the many mothers-to-be, who had yet to learn of their pregnancy or their pregnancy loss. I did not see the many mothers who would always hold children in their hearts and never in their arms. I did not see the many mothers who had or would become a mother through adoption. I did not see the many women who would “mother,” yet never hold the title in the eyes of our world.
I did not see the ocean of pain and love all around me.
Our Father in heaven is always bending in compassion, sacrificing, his heart breaking for his children. This is a mother’s love. It is a universe. Holding so much love and pain, it is ever-expanding in what it carries.
So today, on this Mother’s Day, a flower for every mother in every sense of the word.
A flower for you, today.
A flower for every woman.