My Mother's Day Wish For You

Lynette Whiteman

My Mother's Day Wish For You

Lynette Whiteman
As we turn the calendar page to May, we look forward to the flowers beginning to bloom and we drag out our summer clothes.  Like clockwork, so too do we begin to start seeing the commercials celebrating Mother’s Day.  You know the ones I mean, the older mom looking at her daughter in a wedding dress with tears in her eyes, or the ones where the mom is driving her children to their games in rain and snow, then going to her job all day at the factory.  They all pretty much end is a plea to buy a gift.  Often flowers, jewelry or chocolate.

Having raised three boys, I loved getting those imprinted ceramic dishes with their little hand prints and those cute crayon cards with a poem they made up. I still have them all in a box.  

But, even as a young mom, I always thought about the women who either were not able to have a child or tragically lost a child. I thought about the men and women who perhaps recently lost their own mothers.  How sad for them to witness all these sentimental reminders.

This Mother’s Day got me especially thinking about my own mother who I live with and who is 91 years old. Due to her dementia and the passing of my father, she is not the mother that I knew growing up.

Although she is alive, this Mother’s Day, I am experiencing the loss of her.  It is a loss of a mother who always reveled in my career successes and made me feel special.  Now, she barely knows what I do for a living and is really not interested at all.  It is the loss of a mother who cooked delicious meals and enjoyed more than anything having her grandchildren over for holidays.  Now, she is unable to come to my son’s wedding and will not be part of that special day. And, it is the loss of having that mother who told me to be careful when I went out at night and always reminded me to bring a sweater in case there was a draft.  Now, I am the one who worries about her and makes sure that her needs are being met.

I am committed this Mother’s Day to celebrate the mother who raised me.  The one who nurtured my need to become independent, to be a fierce advocate for women’s rights and who showed me how to raise my own boys with love and respect for others, especially the underdogs in life.

I’ve learned that the mothers who appear in our lives do not necessarily have to be the one you were born with.  My mother’s now are my co-workers who tell me I when I need to go home at the end of the day, or it’s time for me to take a vacation.  My mothers are my mentors who encourage me to try new things and the volunteers who congratulate me on our agencies successes.

My wish for you this Mother’s Day, especially if you are a caregiver for a mother who you don’t recognize anymore or whose mother is gone, is to be able to look back with gratitude for what you had without the heavy load of sadness.  My wish is that you have surrogate women in your life who will nurture and appreciate you in unconditional ways.  This Mother’s Day, when we see those commercials, let’s all celebrate the people in our life who help raise our spirits and not just the ones who society and advertisers want us to see.