Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Not Another List.

Dear Sam,

 You've always known that I struggle with Mothers Day, right?

I mean, the one in May celebrated by Australians and Americans, and who knows who else. I quite enjoy British Mothers Day, though. Well, they would call it Mothering Sunday. I'm British as well now (did I mention?) so I'm claiming that day as mine too, whatever the name.

 But the May Mothers Day continues to be hard. I read an excellent blog post this week from a woman who had a theory that we mums might be happier on Mothers Day if we focused on giving instead of having an entitled expectation of getting something.

I mean, it's genuinely good advice I reckon. Our scriptures tell us it is better to give than to receive, so surely focusing on giving would be better than focusing on getting. Right?

 Anyways, one of her suggestions was, 'Write each of your kids an individual list of why you love being their mom.' So I decided to give it a try. I mean, I really did try. I wrote lists for Laura and for Oliver (they have those lists now). But all the time I was thinking 'why is this so hard to do?' There are a thousand reasons to love being a mum, in general, and a million and more reasons to love being a mum to you specific kids. Why wasn't this list-writing activity helping me get over my sense of entitlement, and reminding me of all my many blessings?

 And it struck me.

It struck me like turning a corner on the road and walking straight into a slap in the face from Captain Obvious, the leader of The Duh Parade.

 I'm not miserable on Mothers Day because of a false sense of entitlement.

 I mean, is it entitlement to expect to have a mum - beyond the age of sixteen? Is it entitlement to assume that your baby will grow up and father babies of his own, little bundles of future delight to brighten Mothers Day celebrations yet to come?


When every Mothers Day commercial just adds another twist in the screw that tightens the vice pressing me between the two impossible-to-bear burdens of motherloss and childloss... that isn't suffering because of entitlement - that's human nature.

So I guess it's not too surprising that I mentally dragged my feet through the task of writing those lists, because I knew at the end I would be writing a list for you. And Sam, the problem is, the thing I loved the most about being your mum was being your mum. Any blessing I could put on that list would be a bitter blessing because I don't get to experience them anymore and that is totally, and completely, and one hundred percent NOT FAIR.

Yeah, I guess for many of us mums society and advertising has sold us a version of Mothers Day in which we are entitled to showers of gifts and good food and laughter. But for me (and for others like me) all I really want on any Mothers Day is to see my mum and to be a mum... to all my kids. And, entitled or not, I don't get to have that experience.

So, if it's ok with you, I think I'll skip your list - and I think I'll keep celebrating the British version of Mothers Day, since it carries less baggage.

And I'll keep on reminding myself, as I do every year, that May 14 - the day you slipped through our careless fingers - is also another kind of Mothers Day.

May 14 - the day MY mum finally got to meet her baby's baby, face to face, as they both worshipped in the throne room.

Say hi to my mum for me, Sam.
Love, Mum.