I always hold up this day in gratitude for mothers, sisters, cousins, daughters, aunts, friends, everyone who has helped to raise me. I like to say, “It takes a village to raise Rebecca.” People chuckle when I say that, but it’s a fact that learning to ask for help was a monumental achievement for me. This is also a day when I offer a special prayer for those who feel loss or a hole from someone missing: their mother or a child who had an ever so brief life. I have several friends who thought that they would be mothers and in the end, were not. I know that today is also hard for those with rocky relationships with their moms. When they look at Mother’s Day cards, there’s not one in the aisle that can say “thank you” without feeling fake or just simply not a good fit.
Whatever your situation, I wish you a pure moment of joy today. Boys without mothers, I wish for you to look around and remember the women and the men who mothered you through a moment. Women, I hope that you can embrace a memory when someone embraced you.
My life circumstances and choices have meant that I’ve lived away from home since age 18. My mom has done some great long-distance mothering and others have stepped in from time to time. I recall two years ago at the height of winter, I went to church full of sorrow. I sat alone and cried silently. I was so, so sad. And then someone came and sat next to me. She embraced me and told me that it was going to get better. She just kept telling me that I was going to be okay. And I believed her. She was wearing a beige wool turtleneck and I remember turning into her and inhaling her mother smell, a faint mix of wet wool (from my tears) and perfume. I could hear her signature gold bangles clinking together as she rubbed my back and I just let it out, worried that my nose was running all over her nice sweater. That, my friends, was one of my early encounters with Mrs. Virginia Clayton (pictured below today at Mother’s Day mass). She is a matriarch at my church, helps to run the religious education program, runs the kids Easter egg hunt, Christmas party and so much more. She mothered me in that moment and lifted me out of my sorrow. But first, she let me sit in it. May these words envelop any sadness in your heart. Let me lift you and encourage you to say “yes” to today. You are here. You are loved. Happy Mother’s Day. I am grateful that you were born.