Today is mother’s day in the United States where Mother’s are celebrated with brunch, flowers, scented candles, and of course cards telling them how much we love them. It is a holiday where love and appreciation are spread for the wonderful amazing women who raise us. Unfortunately for myself and many others it is also a time of pain, uncertainty, and the unsettling feeling of not belonging. This is true of father’s day as well. I have always loved the sentiment behind Mother’s Day and Father’s Day but have always felt out of place and often in pain during these well meaning holiday.
To preface my issues with Mother’s Day and Father’s day let it be known that I grew up in a non nuclear family. Since I was nine months old my paternal grandparents raised me, my biological father often visited until I was in High School, and I have never properly met my biological mother. In addition to this my extended family of aunts, uncles cousins, and even my great grandfather were heavily involved in my life. I was surrounded by support and love but did not have a woman whom I called “mom”. When I was a really small child I did not notice this. I was just a happy little girl who was loved and adored by her giant family. However around first grade I started to notice that the family structure I had was not remotely the same as everyone else who grew up around me. As an adult I am ok with this but as a child the sheer thought that I did not have a woman who I called “mom” was crushing. My grandmother treated me as if she was the one that gave birth to me but still she wasn’t “Mom” she was “Grandma”, and according to everyone else “Mom” came before “Grandma”.
This meant that for so many of the well meaning school projects throughout grade school were printed with the words “mum” and handwritten in marker above it “Grandma”. Even through Middle School this hurt but fortunately “Grandma” and “Grandpa” always opened their arms to care for me.
In America not everyone is raised by a mum and a dad. For many they are but this is not always the rule or the case. Many children are raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, and in foster homes. These beautiful important children who are being raised in loving families often feel ostracized since they often may be the only one in a classroom where the printed project or cards at CVS do not fit their family. The thing that sets these children apart also makes them feel like they do not belong in this world. In the modern day there is more acceptance for non traditional families so shouldn’t the language we use for children.
Another way where I feel a particular sting at the arrival of both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is that both of the people who raised me passed away. I do not have children of my own and the people who I would have celebrated with have passed away. So even though I have passed the point where I am sad that my particular family was a little bit different than everyone else’s the magnitude for what I have lost is profound. At the mention of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day my eyes swell up making it difficult to go through the day. They are days when I am sorely reminded of what I lost.
This blog post is not a call to be rid of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day completely but rather a call to potentially be more mindful of others. A call to be more understanding of others who may be having a hard time understanding. This can also be a call to card businesses or even craft companies for kids to create products that would be sold. Mother’s Day cards that celebrate Aunt’s, Grandmother’s, Foster Parents, and potentially more would be fantastic. I think that anyone who steps up to the plate to nurture anc care for a child should be celebrated. It is a daunting task and you should be reoconized for you hardwork.
In conclusion Happy Mothers day to current mothers, mothers soon to be, those who wish to be mothers, aunts, grandparents stepmothers, to those who have lost their mothers, and to those who wish to be mothers but cannot for some unknown circumstance. May you be showered with the love, light, and appreciation you deserve. Happy Mother’s Day