Mother’s day was yesterday and in a sense I guess you could say I am recovering. I understand, even appreciate the sentiment. I wouldn’t trade the day for another. I wouldn’t make it go away. If I am honest, it’s not the most comfortable day to be a mother.
Instead, it’s a magnifying glass kind of day.
Magnification: is the process of enlarging something only in appearance, not in physical size. Typically, magnification is related to scaling up visuals or images to be able to see more detail with increasing resolution.
When I was 8, my Father gave my Mom a microwave for Mother’s Day. He brought it into the house after church and proudly set it on the counter. We gathered around and cheered her on as she removed it from the box. To my surprise, I watched my smiling young mother go from anticipation to anguish in seconds. Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned and ran out the front door. At the time, I didn’t understand her reaction. My Dad had given her a gift and a pretty cool gift at that. I thought she was ungrateful. I wanted a microwave dinner!
I didn't understand then. I do now.
I think she was suffering from magnification, just as I did yesterday. The scaling up of what “Mother” means compared to what she felt capable of, combined with her enlarged hope for how gratitude would be expressed for a job she felt so inept at doing.
Mother’s Day increases our appearance, but it doesn’t change our physical size. Mother’s Day doesn’t change who we have been or how able we are. Though on some level there is part of us, at least for some of us, that wishes it could.
I have heard it said, “to have a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
There is no greater exposure. There is no greater love.
And if everything has an equal and opposite reaction, then it shouldn’t surprise us or make us feel guilty to say, there is no greater pain. On Mother’s Day, we feel it ALL, with increasing resolution.
Every last boundless hope coupled with our mistakes, our disabilities, our selfish needs. Then we feel our children’s’ sorrow, a driving ache to take away their pain and our anger at high-priced agency. Of course, we feel love. Abiding, limitless, joyous love. All of this is magnified and pushed into one tiny day.
It can be a little overwhelming.
It can make you run from the house in tears.
Sometimes we give microwaves. Sometimes we create National Holidays. And, though these are meant to celebrate…to somehow repay the debt… the day, the gifts, will never match the magnitude of the calling or the similitude of a Mothers’ heart.
Messages of love will.
On that Mother’s Day so many years ago, my Dad was trying to say, “I know you work hard, here’s a tool to make it easier.” As well meaning as he was, he didn't say it. As kids, we didn't show it.
Now that I am Mother, I think I know what my Mom needed that day. It’s what all Mothers need every day, but go without on most days. It’s not a pedestal that is easy to fall from. It’s not a trendy gift, although we probably won’t complain. What we really need is reassurance. Tell us to put the magnifying glass down. Tell us what we did and what we do, is enough. Tell us you forgive us for what we didn’t or cannot do. Say Thank you. Express your love.
These messages, even better when combined with your embrace, change our lens. They remind us to magnify the positive. Hopefully, they remind you too… that YOU, simple, beautiful YOU, are enough. More than enough for your Mother.
Dedicated to my Mom and to my amazing, talented, funny, gorgeous children.
And, to all the Mom's I know.