Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's complicated...

I remember one Sunday, in Relief Society, about 15 years ago..or so. It happened to be Mother's day....(groan) and this elderly lady in the group was asked what lofty "words of wisdom" she had to say about Mother's day....She thought about it for a second, and then loudly responded.."BULL-S%$#!  There was nervous twittering for a second, I mean...we were in church and all.  Then the room litterally exploded with laughter! (that high cackling laughter....like we were in a chicken coop.) Imagine lots of hens..... with corsages on.

Ohhhh...mother's day....so often good.  So often, bad....and sometimes just down-right ugly. I don't get it.  Why does this day that is meant to honor the woman who gave us birth, wreak havoc with our emotions?  I fully recognize that there is not one answer to this question....the only answer that fits all is:  "It's complicated."
So how does this day that should be about love, and macaroni necklaces, and breakfast in bed, end up making us a little crazy?
It's complicated, because our relationships with our mothers are complicated...and our relationships with our children are also just as complicated.  We are tied together...with everything we are..regardless if it is good or bad.  How could it not be complicated? That bond with this person who is responsible for us, or that we are responsible for is so permanent and enduring...no matter what, it seems.  At father's day we don't seem to get so tangled up about it...go figure.
Guilt, love, frustration, joy, fatigue, care....it's a hormonal cooking pot, for crying out loud!

My first mother's day as a mother?  That was a good mother's day. I looked at my little pink sweety and a feeling of pride overtook me!  My heart felt like it was 10 times bigger....I accepted my geranium like it was an oscar, and prepared to give an acceptance speech for the great job I had done!
A bad mother's day? The first mother's day after my mom had passed?  That was...well that was just bad.  A horrible reminder that a piece of my heart was missing.  (it still hurts sometimes, even after all these years...) And ugly? Hmmmm.... I would say, sitting on the back row at church crying , feeling unappreciated and all the kids were fighting and had gum in their hair and and I was pregnant and....well....you get the picture.  That was....ugly. Thankfully this really only happened once or twice. (.most of them really were all about pancakes and bacon and homemade cards...)
   But, my very best mother's day came one year when I least expected it.  Again, I was sitting in Relief Society.  Phyllis Savage was giving the lesson and she had gone before-hand and asked all the kids in the sunday school to write down the best and the worst things about their mothers....anonymously, of course.  The answers were quite surprising.  All the kids had been quite honest in their answers, putting it all out there...."I hate it when my mom yells",or  "I love it when my mom makes me birthday cakes"...you know, all kinds of answers.
 Then she read this one...

"I love it when we are in the kitchen all together, eating and laughing.  My mom turns on the music, and we all dance around while we are working or talking.  It is the best time in the world, and I love her."

I sat there, stunned.  I knew in an instant that it was my kid that wrote that.  My heart was in my throat choking me....and the tears just came.  I wasn't a horrible mother after all.  I did something right....at least one thing....
The thing is this...you never realize, when you are expecting a baby, that there will be lots of sweat and fluid and blood, etc....etc. or that you might have to spend emotional days and nights at the hospital with a sick baby.  Or, in some cases that their will be worry over details of adoptions and fear. We don't usually think about future diaper changing, sleepless nights,  homework assignments, or broken hearts.   But motherhood is a "dirty" business, not pristine in any sense.  We throw ourselves into it, with everything we've got.  The good and the bad, not to mention the HARD, because we just can't help it.  We endure the blood, sweat, and tears.  Love drives us to it.  We are just emotional creatures....we're built that way on purpose.  At least I know that I am. And if I've had to get my hands a little dirty in this journey of motherhood, I consider it an honor.  My macaroni necklace and ceramic coil pots are just medals and trophies. Here is to past and future "Mother's days".....may we remember all the good, and spend the rest, dancing in the kitchen.