This confession may sound shocking to some of you: I do not like Mother’s Day. Or Father’s Day. And, I am not alone; there are many others like me, although we don’t often admit it.
It was late April 2010, and I stood in line at a department store in Port Orange, FL, purchasing some pretty pink nail polish. While doing so, I used all of my willpower to hold in the tears that wanted to come out. All around me were bright, cheery reminders that Mother’s Day was coming. The sign above me had the word “MOM” directly over the word “WOW.” I wanted to tear it down, but thought better of it. I exited the store and let the tears flow, then made my way back to the hospice where my mother lay, and painted her nails while my four brothers looked on. She had been a nail-biter her whole life, but since having a stroke several days earlier, was no longer doing so, and they had already begun to grow. When she passed away a few days later, her nails looked very pretty, something she had always wanted. Her memorial service was held the day before Mother’s Day.
I have not liked Mother’s Day ever since. Each Mother’s Day I’m transported right back to that store and the sad feeling I had, seeing all the Mother’s Day signs and knowing my mom would not be there for it.
Three years earlier, my father passed away. We were extremely close, running hundreds and hundreds of miles together over the years, and he came to every race I ran, no matter whether it was in our town, or 400 miles away. He was my biggest cheerleader. After he passed away, I found Father’s Day very difficult as well (although, interestingly, not as hard, possibly since I have a heavenly Father who will never leave me).
I am not alone. Many people do not like Mother’s or Father’s Day – some because their parents are gone, some because they have lost children (born or unborn) or cannot have children, and some because their parents were absent or abusive.
Over the years, I have learned to grin and bear it, since I know my reason for not liking Mother’s and Father’s Day is because I loved them so much, and many other people have much more painful reasons for not liking those days. I feel a sense of guilt for not liking the days, as I had two awesome parents, have been blessed with three incredible children, and have a wonderful mother-in-law. I am truly thankful for all of them.
But, still, the pain is there. I am not advocating the abolishment of Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, nor am I advocating not wishing others a happy day. What I am advocating is what the apostle Paul said in the book of Romans (chapter 12, verse 15): Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. When you see those of us with tears in our eyes on Mother’s or Father’s Day, give us the freedom to do so…or maybe even give us a hug. We’ll appreciate your caring, and you will help us get through the day… and maybe even come to like it.