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Several Thoughts on Mother’s Day

I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about Mothers Day, not all of them related.  Let’s start on a positive note.

My Mom

My mom is the best ever.  She is one of the most patient people I know.  While I have lots of acquaintances, I’ve never really been very good at making friends. Throughout high school, she was probably my best friend and confidant.  I don’t know how she puts up with my dad’s ill-temper–that alone should qualify her for the Celestial Kingdom.

Mom is feeling the effects of age, and her congestive heart failure is definitely slowing her down.  I wish there was something I could do to help her get more energy.

My Niece

Today is going to be a really tough Mother’s Day for my niece.  She was expecting in June, but had the baby a month early–on Monday.  She has known all along that the baby had a genetic defect called Trisomy 13.  I don’t know much about it, but was told that 90% of babies with this condition don’t live to their first birthday.  Her baby lived just 2 days, and died on Wednesday.  They held a graveside service yesterday.  Apparently her grandfather’s (my father-in-law) brother died as an infant, so her baby was buried next to his great grand uncle.  Since the plot was already owned by the family, that was a nice way to avoid that expense.  However, to save money, her husband dug the grave.  He carried the tiny coffin to the gravesite, and then, with great emotion, buried his young son.  My eyes are watering as I write this.

Mother’s Day in General

Another blogger, Kristine, lamented that Mother’s Day can be really tough on a lot of people.  Kristine has unexplained infertility, and noted, “the poor bishopric just can’t please everyone….If you have all the mothers stand up to receive a gift it’s salt in the wound for the childless/single.”  In solidarity, I noted in the comments,

When I was single, I dated someone who hated Father’s Day. Her father had a heart attack when she was 15. Apparently when he fell, he hit his nose and bled all over the living room floor. She found him, and he died soon after. Father’s Day just brought back too many horrible memories that she no longer had a father.

A few months later, my sister died, the mother of 4 children ages 3-10. After talking to my friend, I’ve always wondered if my nephews and nieces hate Mother’s Day because they no longer have their mother. I remember my friend called me to offer comfort when she learned my sister died.

Fast forward 8 years, and my brother died (on the last day of this month will be 9 years since his death) also leaving behind 4 children in about the same age range. I think of my nephews and nieces who no longer have their mother or father, and on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I feel a profound sense of loss.

The Family Proclamation states, “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother…” Well sometimes, through no fault of their own, children don’t get to be reared by a father and a mother. It is one of God’s mysteries that I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

I still have my mother and father, although they are both feeling the effects of age. I love them, and will miss them when they aren’t here anymore. It is nice to reflect on our parents, but it is important to remember that not everyone has joyful memories on these days.

(For more details, see my 2013 post Easter Mourning.)  But I don’t think my or Kristine’s losses should rule the day either.  I also liked New Iconoclast’s comment to Kristine:

Kristine, I will preface this by saying that I hope you know that I adore you, admire you, and am cognizant of your situation and have some comprehension of the sacrifices you’ve made. That said, is it such a terrible sin for us to celebrate, or at least recognize, the 90+% norm? I completely agree that we should not awfulize the people who do not match the “ideal,” and we should certainly not blame them for not “measuring up” – but, frankly, most people – most couples – can become parents, and failing to recognize the positive benefits of that potential (solely for fear of offending or saddening the minority who cannot fulfill it without great effort) would be doing the large majority of saints a great disservice.

Tough act of balance.

I really do not wish to offend or hurt you with this comment, so i invite you to respond either here or privately, whichever you prefer. It’s possible that I’m misunderstanding you, after all.

It can be a tough balancing act.

My Wife

I’m a little frustrated with my wife on Mother’s Day.  While I know that she doesn’t like to be the focus of attention, sometimes it just feels rude.

She has been complaining about her cell phone not working very well.  It’s about 3 years old (ancient in computer life), the battery isn’t working well, and it is probably running out of space because of so many photos she has taken.  So on Friday, I told her I wanted to get her a new phone.  She responded that she didn’t want it, because her current phone was working fine, and she didn’t want me to spend money on a new phone until the current one completely died.  Here I was, trying to be really nice, and it felt like she was completely unappreciative of my attempted gift.  It really felt rude to me. So I didn’t buy it.

On Saturday, I told her I wanted to take the kids Mother’s Day shopping.  Once again, she told me not to go.  This time, I said, “Tough!”  But my daughter had a friend over, and they wanted to play.  I told my daughter and was willing to take her friend shopping for her mom, but my wife won the hour.  I waited until much later in the evening to take my kids.

Then on Saturday night, I said, “hey, let’s go out for a Mother’s Day dinner.”  She responded that I was too late, and she already had been preparing dinner.  I responded that even if I had spoken up sooner, she would have just said “no” anyway.  I was really ticked off that she really didn’t want to accept any kindness.  She seems so wrapped up in making dinner for her mom, that she can’t accept anything anyway.

Finally, I took the kids shopping.  The boys were terrible in the store.  I couldn’t figure out what to buy.  The kids weren’t helpful at all.  I got a skirt, a blouse (hopefully they fit, but if not, I gave her the receipt so she can get the right size), a cookbook, and some bed sheets (ours have holes in them, and these were a really good sale), along with a few cards.  The kids had fun wrapping the presents, and my daughter asked me if I would help make pancakes for breakfast this morning.

So this morning, my wife woke up with another migraine.  She suspected it would happen because she had been crying so much at the funeral.  She was appreciative of the pancakes, and is now back in bed trying to sleep the headache off.

Overall, it’s been a pretty disappointing Mother’s Day, but I did try hard to make it special.  Maybe I’ll call my mom and see if she can cheer me up.

One comment on “Several Thoughts on Mother’s Day

  1. […] earlier this week, we celebrated the National Day of Reason, and now today we celebrate the hand-wringingest holiday on the Mormon liturgical calendar: Mother’s […]

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