Every year I face the same dilemma. I stand for what feels like hours in the card aisle at the store, reading every Mother’s Day greeting, trying to find the right one.
It’s my annual spring quandary. Some of the cards make me laugh. Some of them are tender and most are sentimental; but none of them speak to the relationship I have with my mother.
It is certainly not the same as when I was 15 and blamed my mom for everything wrong in my life – I eventually grew out of that attitude. It is not the same as when I was 19 and thought I’d been born in the wrong family, thought my mother was from another planet.
Eventually I came to a place of acceptance of my mother, my place in the family, and my own responsibility for some of things that went wrong. I also developed an authentic spirit of gratitude for all my mother did for me, all that she provided for me, all that she did to protect me and keep me safe.
After some maturing and a few years of therapy, I came to a place of understanding that she really did do the very best that she could do. She really did mother me. She really did nurture me. Still, I can’t ever quite find the right card.
A few years ago I attended a memorial service for a woman in the church where I served as pastor. I thought she was a real groovy chick. Around 50 or so, she changed her name to something hippy-sounding like River or Stream; I can’t quite remember.
What I do remember is that she was kind and unobtrusive, that she crocheted hats she sold at crafts fairs and gave away a bunch more to the homeless in the town. She dressed in loose layers of brightly colored clothes and I thought that she must have been the coolest mom around. It came as a surprise, therefore, when her daughter stood to give her eulogy at the service and began by asking the question, “Who doesn’t have a complicated relationship with their mother?” I laughed like everyone else and simply nodded my head. It appeared as if we all shared the same answer.
It makes me wonder, then, if there are others having a difficult time finding the right card to send on Mother’s Day, if for the past week there have been traffic jams in stationery aisles in stores everywhere as folks tried to find a card that doesn’t seem so completely ill-suited for their relationships.
Perhaps, we all should just move to the next section and pick a card with the greeting that would be the most appropriate for any of us. Although they’re available any time of the year perhaps now is the best time to send one. “Thank You.”
After all, maybe that’s what mothers really want to hear.
Lynne Hinton is a minister and author: email@example.com
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