I am a motherless daughter and I am also a motherless mother, so Mother’s Day Sunday always has a sharp edge to it. Not only am I missing my own mother figures, but I am striving to raise my daughter without the benefit of my mother and grandmother’s wisdom. As a parent, I have felt overwhelmed by the task of raising a healthy and whole child; I have doubted my ability to instill the right values and beliefs into my daughter. I have wanted to pick up the phone to call my mother, to place all my trust in any parenting advice she may have given. In those overwhelming parenting moments, I have desired to leave my child in the care of my mother, knowing that I could walk away in complete confidence and gather my thoughts. Mostly, I have longed for my own daughter to know the love and care of a grandmother, the way in which I knew the unconditional and incomparable love of my own grandmother.
I celebrate Mother’s Day because being a mother is an incredible gift. But during this day of celebration, I want to reflect on loss and grief, because all of our lives are shaped by it. We find it difficult to talk about, even though it is a common denominator that binds us across race, creed, color, gender, class, political affiliation, and sexual orientation. Grief and loss mold us in ways seen and unseen. On Mother’s Day each year, I mourn even as I celebrate.
Let us celebrate the biological ties of motherhood, but let us also celebrate the power of love and nurturing from all the women in our lives, even those women with whom we share no blood ties: grandmothers and aunties; "play" mothers and godmothers; church mothers and neighborhood mothers. Celebrate all the women who were not allowed to be mothers to their children. Celebrate all the women who cannot or will not ever be mothers. Celebrate the women who made the courageous decision to give their children to families who could care for them. Celebrate the women who, when left and abandoned, made a way out of no way for their children. Celebrate all the complications of motherhood...even loss. And while you celebrate, say a prayer for those who so deeply feel the pain of being a motherless child, including those of us who are motherless mothers.
© Yolanda Pierce
© Yolanda Pierce