Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day: The Missing Link

Over the last few years, I have wondered if our culture might - however slightly - be missing the mark a bit with Mother's Day.

(Speaking of which, does anyone know if it is "Mother's Day" or "Mothers' Day"? I'm betting on the latter.)

Here's what I mean:

First of all, I do know that "motherhood" - i.e. the transformation that occurs upon the conception or the adoption of a child - is a monumental event in the life of a woman or a family, and also that society owes everything to the mothers (and fathers, of course!) who are faithful to raise and train moral and godly offspring in each generation. And the work of motherhood is one of tireless self-sacrifice and love that is rightly celebrated.

But there is a different sense, and one that isn't recognized on Mothers' Day, in which every woman is a mother. Women are not mothers because they have biological or adoptive children - they are mothers because motherhood is intrinsic in the feminine nature from the moment of conception. Womanhood is motherhood, in so many ways.

I can count so many women in my life, most of which having had no biological or adoptive relationship to me, who have acted as mother-mentors to me in the exact same way that a relational mother would. Who have sheltered, loved, taught, and mothered me in many ways, and for which I have so much gratitude. Why? Because we women are mothers. We mother those around us - by our mentorship, by our care, by our example. I "mother" the kids next door who come over to play. Other women "mother" my children by their care and love. Little girls mother their dolls and puppies and younger siblings (many young little girls have attempted to mother my babies by force - you can't keep them away from babies!).

My point, after much meandering, is simply that motherhood is something that is intrinsically present within the female soul, regardless of age and regardless of whether or not a woman or girl has any children. To be a woman is to be a mother, even if a woman is childless her entire life. And in recognizing only biological and adoptive mothers on Mothers' Day, we are missing out on that. My church gave out roses this morning to all women who have had children, which was sweet and wonderful, but I really think that on Mothers' Day, roses should be given to every woman and girl, regardless of their childbearing status.

I think a sentiment to express on Mothers' Day would be as follows:

For biological mothers, we celebrate the precious work you do in being vessels to carry sacred new lives. For all mothers to children here on earth, biological and adoptive, we celebrate your hard work and self-sacrifice as you pour yourself into your children's hearts and lives. For mothers who mourn babies who are now in heaven, we celebrate your love and the sweet little ones whom you will hold in the future. For girls, we celebrate your coming journey into the path of motherhood. And for all girls and women everywhere, we celebrate the God-given motherhood intrinsic in each and every woman's soul, that it would be used to teach, mentor, nurture, and care for all of the children and young women who need the motherhood of the proceeding generations.

Women everywhere, be blessed this Mothers' Day as you celebrate the beautiful gift of Motherhood!

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