This weekend is Mother’s Day. I am so grateful that I grew up with a wonderful mom and the added blessing of having both my grandmothers in the same town most of my life. Add my awesome sisters and I have been surrounded by strong, loving women my whole journey. That is truly a blessing!
Being a pastor though, I am mindful that Mother’s day can be a difficult day for some folks. Not everyone has a wonderful mother to celebrate. Some have conflicted or painful family relationships. Some have lost children or been denied the opportunity to be a mother.
I remember when I was one of those people. For as long as I could remember I wanted to be a mom. But the journey to motherhood was difficult. During a four year period of infertility and all the pain and heartache that went with that, Mother’s day was hard. It made me long even more for a child and I feared that I might never be able to celebrate the day as a mom. Thankfully modern medical science and the miracle of adoption allowed us to have two amazing kids. But I’ve never forgotten the pain.
In fact, my daughter will graduate from college this Mother’s day. When I was sharing that news, some folks wondered why the college chose Mother’s day for graduation, as if it took from the more important celebration. I think it is a perfect day to celebrate launching another strong, loving, smart woman into the world. I also know that Mother’s day is much more that just a day to honor moms.
The church has taken to downplaying the day as a celebration only of Mothers and I think that is a good thing. The day now celebrates the Festival of the Christian Home and honors families of all sorts and those who have come to be parent to us ( biological or not). I think of my own desire to be procreative all those years and can look back now to see that I was – as a pastor, friend, aunt, youth leader. So too I have had the privilege of knowing tons of folks who may not have been “mother” but shared that procreative energy in countless other ways.
I have been given the label “Mama Bear” and a treasure it. To me a mama bear is not male or female or not even necessarily a mother, but anyone who fights for, defends, honors and protects. Mama bear is love expressed in fierceness and justice.
This Mother’s day I honor all the Mama Bears whose procreative energy creates life for all those who find shelter in her/his/their care!
You go Mama Bear!