The Bitter-Sweet Truth About Mother’s Day

Here’s an honest confession… Since grade school, when all students made something for our mothers in art class, and the childhood gathering of dandelion bouquets, Mother’s Day hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention in my life. Beyond a phone call, a little gift,  a card, or some other acknowledgement–though not all in the same year–and an annual blog, I haven’t done anything outstanding for my mother. We never really did stuff like that, growing up, and to change habits requires deliberate thought.

Mother's Day  Blessing

Well, this year, I decided, was the year for change. I thought of it on Monday–I think it was–that I had nothing planned for Friday. Not one appointment, commitment or obligation.  I asked Tim if he needed me home for any reason, or if I was forgetting anything. Other than picking up my police check, for the student exchange program our son is going on, there was nothing. And that one I could work around.

That settled it. If my mother had nothing going, I would make dinner for her, and drive the hour and a half to spend some time with her.  I thought about my Aunt Anna, my mother’s younger sister, and her daughter Helen, who is not only my cousin but has become a very good  and trusted friend in my life. I would invite them too.

I called mom. She had no appointments. Friday morning was ‘wash day’, she said, but she could do it Thursday instead, or later on Friday. I told her I would likely bring someone  to join us for dinner, but didn’t tell her who.  If nothing else, the not knowing would occupy her mind, trying to figure out who.

Thursday evening I prepared a chicken and tater tot casserole, a seven-layer lettuce salad–and enough for my family at home–then organized what I would need to make crepes for dessert.  A simple menu, and easily transported.

On Friday morning I got myself all domesticated and out of character, by going so far as to set the table for dinner for my family that evening.

The butter was soft and still in the packaging–a pet peeve of mine, that I can blame on no one but myself. (I like it cut in quarters upon opening the package, then  placed in a butter dish, one quarter pound at a time so it doesn’t get stale, and the remainder refrigerated. But, alas, I don’t always dedicate myself to following my own rules, and I am left to accept the consequences.)  I looked at the pathetic and unappetizing lump, with it’s dips and digs and, even though I wasn’t going to have to look at it over dinner,  I decided to do something about it.

I transferred it to the ceramic butter dish–which is really a cheese ball dish, given me by my mother-in-law, and began shaping it into a heart.  Having shaped it nice and smooth the whole way around, I tapped the top with a knife to give it a nice ‘bumpy’ look.  I placed the lid on it and set it near where I assumed my daughter and her boyfriend would sit. They might as well see it first, since they’re all about hearts and starry eyes and all that goes with the sweetness of young romance.

Having packed all the food, and a little family photo album as a gift for my mother, I was ready to go. I looked at the table, all set for evening dinner, thought of the food in the fridge and the heart-shaped butter, and thought about how out of character it is.

The thought went through my mind then, What if I die? What if this is one of those crazy things people talk about after someone passes away, and assume somehow I had a premonition and this was my final way of saying ‘I love you’?

I smiled. Silly thought. And if I actually died, know one would ever know I thought it. (But, having lived to tell about it, I shared it with Tim, who simultaneously grinned and rolled his eyes even as a mild look of horror crossed his face that I would even think it, let alone say it.  I tried to justify it, laughing playfully, and he just kept shaking his head, grinning.)

My drive to Aylmer was uneventful. Though that might only be true because I took one exit before my usual, the #73 into Aylmer from the 401. It was a most spontaneous decision. One I made immediately after seeing flashing lights… A police officer…

I was travelling along at speeds I shall not mention here, lest said officer reads this–though the odds are not high–but suffice it to say it was a bit higher than the acceptable speeding range.

Yes, yes, I remember I’m in ministry, and should obey the law…  And I really do want to but, I, like the Apostle Paul, confess that “the things I would not, those I do, and the things I would, those I do not.” It seems as I listen to worship, and the roads are clear (reasonably) before me, I absent-mindedly pick up speed.  I catch myself constantly inching toward speeds one should only reach on the Autobahn–which is on my bucket list–and then I chide myself and slow back down, only to find myself there again soon thereafter.  And it’s even worse if a vehicle beside me is going faster. My subconscious instinctively encourages my foot to apply a bit more pressure. And that is exactly what happened on Friday.

It was in the ‘inching toward’ speed, with a ‘Wind Mobile’ company van beside me, going just slightly faster than me, when the flashing lights startled me back to reality. I looked in the general direction of the lights, and that is when I saw the Wind van, and realized what had happened.

The lights were in the opposite lane, so there is a chance that the officer wasn’t even after Wind or me, but at that very moment I saw the exit for ‘Culloden Road’, and felt compelled to get out of the officer’s way just in case he was after Wind.  Furthermore, rules are to pull over to the right with emergency vehicles, and that is precisely what I did. A far right. And a whole new route to my mother’s. I did learn a little something though and on the way home at midnight, feeling a bit repentant, I set my cruise control to keep myself in check.

I arrived a bit later than expected, and popped dinner in the oven. Aunt Anna had arrived earlier, and Helen came soon after. We enjoyed dinner, and chattered in a mix of low German and English. After first course we did the dishes, waited a while, and then started with crepes for dessert.  We filled them with ice cream, natural Balkan style plain yogurt, peaches and strawberry jam–or any preferred blend of these.

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When Aunt Anna and Helen needed to leave, I observed how tired mom looked. Her colour, I noted earlier, was ‘off’, as though the chest cold deprived her of oxygen, but by the time they left, she looked completely worn out. I hinted she take a nap, and would have let myself out, but she insisted on accompanying me to the main door of Menno Lodge. She also insisted I place all my stuff in her cart and wheel it out because it’s too heavy to carry. I had carried it all in, with the food we had consumed still in containers, but arguing with mothers is futile, so I accepted the cart and loaded it up.

I headed down the hall, mom scooting behind me in her wheelchair, backwards–which she insisted works better–when an elderly gentleman met us. Grinning from ear to ear, he looked at the empty containers and asked if I had brought him any dinner. Mom swung around then, and the two began their banter. Mom telling him what an amazing dinner he had missed out on, and him playfully offended at not being invited.

Mom introduced me then, and told me they had been in youth together, many years ago, before she married my father. As we parted ways Mr. Loewen patted mom on the shoulder and said, “We always have a good time, Tina.”

No one calls mom ‘Tina’. She is Katherine. Always has been. Only one of her siblings, to my knowledge, had ever called her Tina. And now this man from her youth. It intrigued me to see her interact with someone this way. It is not something I have observed before, this comfortable banter with an old friend.

As we moved on, she told me more about Mr. Loewen. His wife had died seven years ago, or so, and a year or two later he had married again, right there in Menno Lodge. She was happy for them, and both were good friends to her.

We met another ‘neighbour’ and chatted awhile. When mom told her I had brought dinner and ‘it was the best casserole she had ever tasted’, her friend smiled, “I hope one of my daughters is nice enough to bring me dinner for mother’s day,” she said.

Mom’s eyes twinkled with mischief, “Call your daughters and tell them that Mrs. Harder’s daughter brought her a very lovely meal. Then one of them will want to do it for you too,” she said with a laugh.

It struck me how she must have lost sight of herself between those years of singleness in her teens, and these older years as she nears eighty. Life was hard, in every way, and much was lost in those years. But never beyond God’s redemption.

The last thing she told me before I left, as if making a sheepish confession, was how she fell at night recently and had to call 911 to help her back up. She is aging. Fast. And I wonder how much longer she will have her independence. Some of her ‘self care’ and home remedies are more than only mildly concerning to me, but she will be seventy-nine this summer, and has managed shockingly well considering the beating her body has endured. As long as she isn’t doing any major damage, I suppose it’s none of my business.

As I drove away, I couldn’t help but smile. It makes me happy to know my mom is surrounded by friends. The other residents have become her family, in many ways, it seems. With all the broken history of our home, there are deep, deep scars. No matter how good our time is together, as family, there is always a shadow of the memories that haunt us. Always.

But here in her home, among her friends and this new family, she has a new reality that is not interwoven with the trauma and tragedy of many years of living.  For this I thank God, on her behalf.

I thought of my Amish friends–the Wagler family–who live only minutes from Aylmer and who lost their mother in the last two weeks. It would be a different Mother’s Day for them, I thought to myself, and I wanted to acknowledge it. I slipped into a store, and purchased a sympathy card, then over to Tim Horton’s for donuts. They’re wonderful cooks and the donuts seem a shallow gift, but they love them.

I arrived at Joseph and Rosemary Gascho’s home and made my way to the house. Joseph saw me coming. He looked, first, surprised, then lit up in a smile, then back to surprise.

“Is Rosemary here?” I asked, after saying hi to him. He fumbled a bit, kicked off his shoes and let me into the house.

Rosemary’s mouth dropped open, her eyes lit up and she giggled, “I know you! I know who you are!!” she laughed again.

“I heard your mom passed away and wanted to tell you I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you and your family,” I said, and gave her the donuts and the card.

She thanked me, her voice mellowing to a deep appreciation. At her table a guest sat waiting for her and I really didn’t want to keep her. I had not intended anything more than a quick drop in. But before I could excuse myself she asked enthusiastically, “How’s your book coming?”

“It’s done,” I said, meaning it was ‘finished’, as far as writing and personal editing, but was just going to add  that we ‘re looking for a publisher, but her excitement interrupted.

“Really! Where…” she held out her hand, as if reaching for one, her eyes sparkling.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “my part is done, but we’re looking for the right publisher. I haven’t forgotten, I will bring you one just like I promised.”

“Oh…” she said, pausing, then laughed and said she’d be looking for it.

I told her I best be running along, and wished her God’s blessing. She thanked me again, and with that I was off.

For the first time, in adult life, I took time for a very deliberate Mother’s Day visit and acknowledged the day with my time. And for her first time, Rosemary was about to face Mother’s Day grieving the loss of her mother.

That was Friday… Now it’s Sunday.. Mother’s Day…

At home this morning, two of my sons decided to make breakfast. One mentioned it to daddy yesterday, and got up this morning to help, but decided to go to early service.  Daddy had given me a heads up that I might expect breakfast in bed, so I waited, oblivious to the changing plans downstairs.  At length he returned to update me, and to tell me Kordan was taking charge, since Todd wanted to get to early service with Bryan. He would take them and return shortly. It would be okay if I went downstairs, he said.

At the kitchen Kordan, who had been by the stove, quickly shooed me off into the family room, so I wouldn’t see anything.  I obliged and wandered to my writing chair.  Moments later Kordan joined me in the family room, curled up in his bean bag, and started playing on his Nintendo DS. And that is how Tim found us when he returned moments later, after delivering the boys to church.

Tim set to work and eventually Kordan joined him. My phone rang. It was my brother, Wil. We immediately launched into our German banter, laughing and carrying on, until I got called over for breakfast.

Neatly placed on the table was the most picture-perfect breakfast, beautifully arranged, and my favourite extra-large mug of coffee.  (Pictures will follow…. when my new cord arrives so I can transfer pictures from my camera.)

I took some pictures of the arrangement and Kordan posed with the plate, all while nibbling on a piece of bacon.  I took a bite and the taste was as good. Kordan stood for a moment, quietly, then asked, “Will you eat all your oranges and pineapples?”

“Did you want some?” I asked.  He nodded, so I told him to get a plate. Daddy was working on his omelette and said he had pineapple already. I asked if there were no more oranges, in case I should save some for Tim as well. There was more, Kordan said, but it had been such hard work to cut them that he would rather have some of mine. I laughed and shared. I had more than enough.  Isn’t that what motherhood is all about?

Kordan, in his musings, said, “You know what I don’t get? They made a mother’s day and a father’s day, but no daughter’s day or son’s day. I think they’re cheap!” (Whoever ‘they’ are… and it’s certainly not the retailers!)

The day is packed full with the buzz of many activities. Tim took the boys to his mother’s to spend some time with her. I’m preparing food for another afternoon event, after which I hope to slip over to see her too. (I would have done the food yesterday or Friday, but was away both days.) One daughter is working and may or may not get in on any of the day’s events. The other daughter asked if she and a friend could take their mothers out for dinner tonight, just the four of us. We’ve done this before when we all decided it was time for us mothers to meet, and we connected well.

And sandwiched in the day, I will be with some of my siblings and nieces and nephews this afternoon. Two of my brother Pete and Nancy’s children are in for a visit from the West, and we will spend a few hours together, which we are very much looking forward to. Last time we saw them they were little children. Now they are parents. Unbelievable how fast time moves!

We’ll have a great time, talking, laughing and carrying on–indulging ourselves in ‘Harder humour’, as we call it–but mom will not be able to join us, as her health makes distance nearly impossible.

Times and seasons change, and with that change comes loss and sacrifice. I feel sad, in a way, for my mother, and at the same time I feel very blessed. I am proud of my children, every one of them, and thank God for them.  The day is bitter-sweet…

I think of it every Mother’s Day that, for some, it is a day of joy, for other’s a day of grief and pain. For some, the grief is because of the loss of a child or mother. But for others it is not the grief of a mother or a child having passed on, but the grief of broken relationship. A mother who won’t speak to her daughter or son. A daughter or son who won’t speak to their mother.  Or relationships filled with hate and fighting. And, not to be forgotten, the ‘mothers at heart’ who were never able to conceive or give birth, or never married.

And as they struggle, often in silence and alone, we casually wish each other a “Happy Mother’s Day”, with the sincerest of intentions, while overlooking the fact that many will walk out of church doors, to a lonely house and empty hearts.

It is bitter-sweet for me too. My mom is living and I keep in touch with her, quite regularly, but the years have robbed us of the sweet innocence some mom’s and daughters have in their relationship and history.

God’s grace has redeemed, but the scars remain. I wish her well, and she wishes me well. Of this I am confident.  And in it all I thank God for His kindness to us both, and pray He blesses her remaining days on this earth.  She gave me life, and for that alone deserves my honour and thanks.

And all the stories my scars tell, in relationship with mother, are stories that give honour and glory to the redeeming power of Jesus.

To you, my friends, who have the ‘perfect and ideal in every way’ relationship with your mothers, embrace it. Embrace her. Celebrate that sweetness. And to those whose relationships are wounded and scarred, join me in inviting God to redeem, and then embrace your journey, your story, and celebrate it.

To my mother, my mother-in-law, and every other mother out there… the ones with scars and wounds and broken hearts, as well as those living a dream…  I wish you Mother’s Day blessings that run deep and never end.  Blessings that supersede the stuff of life, and celebrate you: A Mother.

 

© Trudy Metzger

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When Mother’s Day Hurts So Much That God Cries

I opened my eyes, trying to shake the image of my son, lying on the ground, badly wounded from the explosion. He was unresponsive, almost lifeless, his breathing shallow.

The feeling of helplessness and agony that overwhelmed me, flooded back. I felt weak, nauseous. Willing the images to leave my mind, I sat up in bed.

What a way to start the day, and not just any day. The nightmare that woke me up, early Mother’s Day morning, started with numerous car crashes. Some family members were wounded, others killed. It ended with a massive explosion that nearly killed our son. It held no obvious meaning, and served only to torment my heart…

In church, a few hours later, we had communion. Jesus. Broken. Bleeding. Wounded…. for me. A Son who suffered and died, with purpose.

The nightmare flashed through my mind again. I thought of Mary. It was her son too, who hung on that cross.

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I put my head on Tim’s shoulder, and big tears splashed all over his shirt. I didn’t sob, but the tears kept splashing down on him. He saw the water spots, looked at me, and I smiled past the mess I was, willing myself to shut off the intense emotion, and that picture. I had told him the nightmare earlier…

“Dumb nightmare,” I whispered quietly, almost giggling with confused emotion, feeling a bit foolish that something not real could impact me so profoundly. 

Tim’s eyes held compassion and understanding. He is my safe place, here, on earth, no matter what the pain, the battle, the emotion. A true rock, he seems unmoved, though not untouched, by who I am.

I thought of all the mothers sitting in church that morning, or at their tables, with breaking hearts and brave faces. Maybe I was crying for them, because their tears were stopped. It wasn’t really about that horrible scene in my nightmare, I knew that.

Or maybe it was for the mothers still in bed, unable to get up, because of grief…

Or maybe it was for Mrs. Bosma, whose son Tim was taken from his young wife and little daughter… and for Sharlene Bosma, who didn’t have a husband’s shoulder to cry on this Mother’s Day, because of evil… pure evil… committed against her, against them as a family.

My nightmare ended when I awakened. But their nightmare continues, broken, and inconclusive. And I stop writing, to pray, because my heart aches for them. It aches for strangers I have never met, and yet, because I am a mother, and a wife, and a daughter, I feel it deeply. And because, through Tim’s work, I know of people connected to Tim’s family. And somehow that makes it more real.

It’s not the movies, it’s not a news report. It’s broken hearts, carelessly scattered for the world to see, by men with evil plans…. plans to hurt, to harm and to bring pain.

The reality of that evil hits me with a powerful force, like water from a filthy river, knocking the wind of hope from me, for a moment, as I contemplate that evil, and all the suffering mothers.

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The words of a wise man, depressed by life, go through my mind… What meaning is there in life… what new thing to look forward to? What has been, will be again, what has been done, will be done again… (Ecclesiastes 1)

And it seems that’s just how it is, and has been, since Abel disappeared, soon after the Garden. The first ‘missing person’ ever reported, when God came to question Cain, and it seems the evil has escalated and multiplied since then, knowing no boundaries, going from sibling rivalry to taking captive an innocent man like, Tim Bosma, with no apparent motive. And the mind can hardly grasp it, when the innocent suffer like that, simply for trusting.

But then I remember again, the Son whose mother stood at the cross, weeping and grieving at His innocent death. I see His body, again, mangled for the love of us, and bleeding hope all over place on that ugly hill. The Hill of Death–Gogatha, the place of the skull–and that hope flows like a river.

It runs down that wicked hill, and keeps flowing until it covers the earth, and fills the dead with its life, wherever it is received. (Ezekiel 47:1-12) And the skeletons and the dry bones, and the corpses of empty existence dip in that river, and they begin to dance, and run. They sing like never before because Hope has touched them…

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It is then I realize that my tears come from deep within my spirit, forming a prayer–in a place so deep I cannot express it. A place where words are lost, and only tears speak the language of that place…

And I think maybe they are God’s tears, flowing from my body, showing His heart of compassion. Weeping, not for His Son on the cross–because His Son conquered the cross, conquered death… hell… and the grave. His Son rose again.

It is His tears for His children, who are touched by evil. His tears, for us, because of the consequence of sin. His tears for me, waking from the horrible nightmare and having to see my son like that. His tears for Mrs. Bosma, and Sharlene and her daughter, whose nightmares go on and on…

His tears, falling, and splashing His love and compassion all over us, because He came–Emmanuel, God with us–to suffer, to grieve, to understand the worst of pains that a human can suffer.

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Being God, He suffered the grief of watching His Son brutalized. And being Jesus, He suffered the beating, the captivity, and the cross. All this, to understand our sorrow…

So this Mother’s Day weekend–yes, even on Monday, the day after Mother’s Day, because your grief continues–if your mother-heart breaks for any reason at all, my thoughts, my prayers and my tears are with you.

Especially with you, Sharlene and your little princess… and Mrs. Bosma and your family. This evil thing you have suffered should never have happened…

…God’s tears are with you…

Our prayers continue for Tim Bosma’s safe return. And, when you look back on this part of your story, we pray you will see only one set of Footprints, knowing that God carried you through this time.

© Trudy Metzger

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Pre-Mother’s Day Rant: Femininity & Over-Sexualized Culture

The Thursday night pre-Mother’s-Day “Girls Night Out” sale at Marks Work Wear House proved to be a worthwhile, but crazy experience.

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I headed out at noon, with plans to shop early, and get it over with. I don’t love shopping so much these days. It’s a necessity, not therapy, or pleasure or addiction. It’s what must be done. That ‘mission to be accomplished’ feeling makes crowds in stores more stressful, and shopping less fun. I would avoid that, going early.

I arrived at the store and, sure enough, it was busy, but not insane. That was great until I discovered the ‘additional 20%’ discount doesn’t start until evening. There I was, with a few summer tops and scarves. Twenty percent is a big deal, so I decided I’d return later. But before I left, I tended to one little matter….

There was one sweater on sale, in white, but not available in my size. I knew I’d get a lot of use out of–presuming it doesn’t get a stain… I avoid white unless it’s bleachable–so I had the kind cashier call the other stores to see if they had one my size.

She directed me to another store in Kitchener, where they would hold one with my name on it. I made my way to the store, about ten minutes away…

At the store, the cashier looked confused. There was no sweater on hold. I explained where I had come from, that the other store had called and confirmed, and it should be there. One cashier remembered the call, but said he told them there is none. Still, they checked again. I waited.

The cashier returned. Still no sweater. She would call all the other stores, she said, and find out who it was that had one. They called. Again I waited.

Apologetically she explained that there were no sweaters locally. Far away there might be one, but not close by. Sorry, she said, looking quite worried.

It’s okay, I told her. These things happen. It’s life.

She looked relieved, giggled and sighed, “Wow! I thought you’d be more angry. You’re not even upset. I thought you’d be mad.” She handed me a card. An additional 20% off of any purchases, store wide.

I thanked her, and left. An additional 20%, meant 40% off my purchases, some of which were already marked down by 30%. That’s 70%. I slipped it into my wallet and returned home.

At 8:00pm I slipped back to the store where my items were on hold. I asked the gentleman for my ‘Hold’ items, then joined the long line up. Very, very long line up. People inched forward. Slowly. I waited, patiently, quietly.

A woman up ahead, with a table set up, and prizes to give away, caught my eye. She smiled. I recognized her, and waved.

When I was near enough to her, we chatted. Chatting makes time move faster and the line seems to move less slowly. We talked about stuff like shopping, and work.

Speaking of work, I started a part-time job a while ago–just over a month now, actually–so I told her about that. I am a server, at the Drayton Chop House, a few nights a week. It’s a lot of fun, I said. The best is when it’s busy, and we’re run off our feet.

I have fun with it, I told her, and it helps customers relax.  And when customers like you, and they tip well, it makes you feel good, like you really earned your wage. Even when you make mistakes, if you own it, and take it in stride, it doesn’t make them upset, or when you say things and stick your foot in your mouth, and you laugh at yourself, they like it. Live entertainment, why not? Then the tips get even better, I told her playfully.

She leaned in close then, and whispered something, with a giggle. I missed what she said and asked her to repeat it.

“Do you have a good push up bra?” she whispered a bit louder. I could feel my eyebrows furrow, not connecting the dots. I stared blankly at her for a moment. She giggled again, and continued, out loud this time, “You’ll make better tips.”

“I’m not stooping to that!” I said, then continued, enthusiastically, “I’m happy with my tips!!”

A woman, presumably in her sixties, stopped shopping to stare at me, as if I had said something terrible, and it was at that moment I realized…

“I didn’t say that,” I said out loud. “And I’m still not stooping to doing things for tips,” I added. “That’s messed up.”

“It’s the way it is,” she said.

The line moved past the stand. I had filled out my ballot, dropped it in. But my mind was on our conversation, and the little tip on tips she had given.

I understand that we are sexual creatures. I understand that men are visual, at least that is how we’ve stereotyped them, and women are curvy and appealing. And, yes, I even believe in dressing to compliment the body God gave me. (A body that has changed noticeably over the years…)

But to use my body, to try to get better money…  I find every part of that offensive and degrading.

Why would I want to prostitute myself that way?

When I go out for dinner, if a server–male or female–is polite, kind and helpful, even if he or she makes mistakes, I tip generously. I know what it is like to make mistakes. We’re all human. And as long as the server takes responsibility–say for the lipstick on the glass, when I am not wearing any, or any such thing–it doesn’t influence my generosity. But neither does their gender, their age, or their looks. Not in any way.

I want to be treated with respect, and that is the respect I try to give. And that is my rant about that…

Our world is over-sexualized, and I’m committed to not playing the game. Feminine beauty is a thing of the heart, not the body. We are sexual creatures, but we don’t need to let ourselves be sexualized by culture and society, or become sexualized within our own minds.

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I am more ‘matronly’ today than I was 45 pounds ago, before I gave birth to five children and survived a massive heart attack. But my heart has become more beautiful as the Spirit of God has healed, defined and delivered me.

Not long ago, Tim and I stood in the kitchen, and it struck me how much we’ve both changed, physically. I put my arms around him, giggled and said, “Isn’t it great to be middle-aged, chubby, and in love?”

And, yes, almost twenty years into marriage, we are crazier about each other than we were back when our bodies seemed near perfect, in size and in function. Now, here we are, with creaky knees, and various other malfunctions, in a deeply committed love relationship, enjoying our marriage more than ever, in every way. There’s more to life than this body…

Today I celebrate the beauty of femininity–curves and rolls and all, with or without push up bras–and thank God for our purpose and design; made in His image, to reflect His heart to the world.

Embrace who you are–the woman God created you to be–and celebrate the unique wonder of you, fearfully and wonderfully created.

Happy Mother’s Day!

© Trudy Metzger

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Mother’s Day Blessings to the Happy, the Sad and Everything Between

Like any other Holiday, Mother’s Day stirs a range of emotions. I love Mother’s Day! It isn’t the same as Christmas, with near-tingling excitement for the joy of the occasion and the thrill of watching our children open presents. Or even to open mine—especially since I’m not really a gifts person. (Except for flowers–they are the exception.) If someone gives me a gift, I appreciate it, and definitely value the thought behind it, but it’s not my main love language or ‘need’. So Mother’s Day isn’t about the gifts.

My 10-year old son, Kordan, anxiously awaited the dawn of ‘the day’ to give me the gift he made at school. I get excited just watching him. He returned from school Friday with a neatly wrapped package, all done in my favourite colour—purple. “When do I give this to you, today or Sunday?” he asked.

“Definitely on Mother’s Day,” I said. It didn’t matter that much to me, but I am quite certain that Sunday morning he will wish he had saved it. So we waited. First thing Saturday morning he announced that ‘it’s only one more day!’ Seeing his excitement, made me look forward to the moment he hands me his gift. It is obviously filled with a ton of love!

Even though it’s not about the gifts for me, the little tokens of love are always delightful. Whether it’s a dandelion bouquet, a homemade card or any other little ‘something’, it always communicates love and appreciation. So I look forward  to Mother’s Day.

I will have a (relatively) quiet day at home with my husband and five children, followed by a visit from Grandma and Grandpa for dinner in the evening. I will try to call my mom at some point, as well as a few ‘mom figures’ in my life, to bless them in their roles. The feelings, all around, are positive and peaceful.

For many of you the feelings are very different.

Some of you, who are mothers, find today filled with sadness and grief. You may have lost an only child recently, or in the past, and the vacancy cannot be filled. There is no child to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day today, whether as an infant who giggles and gurgles and coos, or as an adult who appreciates you. Your heart today is lonely, empty and you feel abandoned. Today I think of you.

Maybe you lost a son or daughter, recently or in the past, and even though you have other children, there is still a vacancy. You find yourself filled with conflicting emotions as your heart thrills at the children you have, and breaks for the one you have lost. You feel guilty for the grief, worry your other children feel they are not enough, and wonder if you will ever embrace this day again. Today I think of you.

Maybe your son or daughter has abandoned you, emotionally, and spoken unkindly of you or to you. They are alive, but your relationship is broken. Gone.  You wonder if you will ever see him or her again. You wonder if they even think of you, or only think of you long enough to entertain a hateful thought or dark curse. The grief and the ache in your heart are more than you can bear. You feel regret. Fear. Loneliness. Anger. Shame. Sadness. Loss. Deep, deep loss. Today, I think of you.

Maybe you are a mother who has lost sight of the value of your role. You feel disdain for it. You are angry. You fail your children, or have failed them terribly in the past, and you can’t find it in yourself to care or say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”. Your children are wounded, lost, abandoned. They wonder if you will ever ‘come home’ again. Will they ever know you, be loved by you—accepted? They wait, almost hopelessly, for you to be there for them, to talk, listen, and do life with them. And so they wonder as you wander, far from their hearts. Today I think of you.

Or, it could also be that you are the abandoned son or daughter. Maybe your mother gave you up for adoption, withdrew emotionally, or perhaps she died and was taken against her will. All you feel is a deep, empty, lonely ache…. and anger. You long for even one person to look at you on Mother’s Day and say, “I’m sorry she isn’t here for you today. Can I give you a hug?” Today I think of you.

Finally, maybe you are the son or daughter who has abandoned your mother. Your hurt and anger may be justified. Even so, she is still your mother and you need her as much as she needs you. It may be that you are the one who will have to take that first step. She may be so consumed with guilt and regret that she fears you will never forgive her. She may feel she doesn’t deserve you anymore. Or, the tragic truth may be that she is not willing to restore the relationship.  You may reach out, year after year, and always arrive at the same rejection. Today I think of you.

Today I would like to offer you hope. For many years I seldom communicated with my mom. I had completely withdrawn from her emotionally, because of our very traumatic home life. I wasn’t able to handle the pain. Ultimately, I was not able to forgive.

About seven years ago I called my mom, not on Mother’s Day but on a random day. We started to talk at a depth we had probably never spoken before. Eventually, in the course of conversation, I shared my hopes, my dreams and my plans with her. I talked about how I wanted to do ministry to help others work through pain and trauma. I told her that I wanted to teach people about healthy sexuality, so they would not suffer what I went through. I told her that I dream of ending abuse and violence or, at the very least, breaking the silence and shame surrounding the topic.

When I finished talking, there was a pause and then my mother spoke these words, her voice filled with grief and regret, “Ah… I wish someone had taught me all of those things.”

That heaviness in her voice told me more than words could have. She longed to go back, to do things differently, but she cannot. She praised me in the path I have chosen, blessed the things I shared and for the first time in many years, if not the first time ever, I felt connected to my mom. There is always hope.

I don’t know your story, but I do know this, there is healing and restoration available if your relationships are broken. Today, if you are struggling, my prayer is that you will invite Jesus and friends into your grief and struggle. My prayer is that you will find the courage to extend forgiveness and accept it, if you need it, and that this Mother’s Day will be the beginning of a new relationship for you.

Be blessed this Mother’s Day!