While the Eternity team thought about how best to recognize this annual event, a day that can stir a range of emotions in people due to their specific circumstances, we decided that we could write about being our mothers or mothers. And so do we. Each writer brings their personality, experience, and perspective to this simple yet personal task. For some, it’s put them in little rabbit holes they didn’t mean to. For others, it evokes memories long buried. And that is perhaps the most important thing about memorial days like this. We pause to think. We tell stories about each other. We laugh and tease, praise and shed a tear or two. Florists earn half a year’s rent in a weekend! Restaurants make a roaring Sunday lunch. Perhaps there is especially that moment when we are grateful. Thank God for the mother (stepmother, adoptive mother, grandmother, aunt, foster mother) who formed us. Thankful for the noisy tribe that surrounds us. Grateful for families who love us. And at that moment, let us thank God that we are molded in his image and loved unconditionally by the Creator of the Universe.
Unraveling Mama by Bec Abbott
I remember the day my mother went back to work. After years of being solely devoted to raising her two daughters, she donned a pressed white uniform and sensible shoes. A silver watch pinned to her chest completed the look of nursing efficiency. That left daddy to do my hair, and he couldn’t even braid! This woman who baked Madeiran cakes with white icing for family picnics, which rocked me to sleep with the soft notes of ‘Kum Ba Yah’, who was always there – when I woke up when I came home from school when I played when I cried – went out into the world, without me.
This was the first time I saw my mother as a person, apart from the apron strings that had tied her so tightly to our house until now. Over the years, many more snatches of Mom’s identity have unraveled: She giggled with her nursing student friends behind the domineering matron’s back; Italian men pinched her ass on a European adventure with her only sister; she turned down my dad when he first asked her out to dinner—to the pub (in defense, the only option in a small town at the time).
As I grew up, my mother’s threads were woven more tightly for me. I realized she’s smart, cocky, fiercely independent, a leftist, and a feminist, who still happily serves my dad dinner every night. She’s a fantastic cook but notorious for the kitchen chaos she leaves behind. She is a wonderful writer and an artistic flower arranger, yet immensely practical and unsentimental. She’s a doer, not a “let’s drink coffee” talker.
In recent years, we’ve unveiled yet another piece of her tapestry. She is now an only child since her sister passed away in 2020. She no longer stands on ladders or chairs since she broke her rib and was banned from this activity. She is currently a caregiver for my father, who is injured after two falls. And yet she still puts a meal in our fridge every Tuesday. She still makes time to drill times tables in her grandchildren. She watches our dog and patiently repairs the holes in our clothes. But now, as a mother of three daughters, I see the woman behind the selfless acts. I see her remarkable, giving, accomplished self and realize how blessed I am to call her Mom.
The Love That Raised Me by Madison Garrett
Learning to love how my Mom loves me has changed our relationship for all the right reasons. I’m not here to cover up rough edges, I don’t have a “perfect” relationship with my Mom, but one thing that has made a huge difference is letting go of the expectation of perfection.
It has allowed us to be real. It has enabled me to realize that my mother is not superhuman. She experiences the same exhaustion, excitement, and frustrations as I do – and she is learning to be my mother at the same pace as I am learning to be her daughter (yes, we are still learning after 18 years).
My mother is also a friend, colleague, daughter, and sister, just as I am a friend, colleague, daughter, and sister. And yet, amid the urgent tides in her life, she chooses a love so complete and attentive to her children.
And her love, full of encouragement, patience, and memorized details, like how I drink my tea, impresses me with my mother’s view of motherhood.
Our relationship is imperfect, but her love has raised a daughter who often encourages, listens, and cares deeply about her. What a great role model I have
For Mary by John Sandeman
The family story goes that my sister was born at the height of the London Blitz, with my mother giving birth on the hospital’s top floor and the staff hiding in the basement.
When hard times produce resilient, rugged people, I think Ethel Mary Sandeman is a good example. Her generation has had a hard time.
She and my father Colin had saved up for their marriage during the Depression and spent the money saving an uncle from the South Australian Depression.
Then World War II came, and Mary and Colin didn’t see each other for five years. Reunited again, Mary and Colin adopted four boys, of which I am the youngest. Mary looked after two boys during the evacuation of children from London and told me stories of how Spitfires would fly a roof level between houses on the south coast where she lived.
Here’s a story that explains how she mentally never left central London.
She is retired in the Adelaide Hills town of Nairne and needs to be persuaded by my twin sister to put her full name on my father’s obituary. No one in the city had known her first name until then.
When greeted in the street as “Mary” the next day, she was outraged but probably too polite to show it.
Raising children in a blended family was tough. On the mantelpiece of my twin sister’s house is the credit she received from King George VI for caring for evacuees. She adopted me and the others when there was a huge surplus of children.
As the king did, I never made a card for her to say thank you. I should have.
The Extraordinary/Ordinary Role of Motherhood by Penny Mulvey
Becoming a mother tends to change one’s view of one’s mother. I mean, motherhood (and, I might add, parenting as a biological parent, stepparent, grandparent, adoptive parent, foster parent, sibling, aunt/uncle/boyfriend, etc.) is tough!
It is also wonderful, beautiful, heartbreaking, annoying, and disturbing. You are a taxi driver. Nurse. Chief. Cleaner. Counselor. Washerwoman. Hairstylist (not in my case). ATM. Magician. Role model. Narrator. Available 24/7.
But none of those words sum up the depth of love that awakens as one age. And somehow, that love continues to expand whether there is one child in the family or ten.
I remember when my oldest was born when I looked at this perfect little creature that had come out of my body, I was blown away by its size. I wondered why not all people immediately recognized that there was a God; otherwise, how else can we explain the miracle of birth?
Our children push our buttons. They can drive us crazy and shower us with love. That “miracle” grew up, and there were many times when I didn’t feel that way.
I thinkour lovee for posterity is perhaps the closest we can come tounderstandg the unconditional love God offers us, His children. And while I’ll be sending my Mom Mother’s Day greetings, I don’t care if my three grown children remember because they show their love in their ways, and I don’t need a special day to appreciate that.
My mother is now in her 90s and has broken both hips in the past 12 months. She has survived two husbands. And although her spiciness has diminished, she’s still happy to see me when I’m in Sydney. And she’s still just as proud of me today as she was when I was a teenager.
I wrote her memoir during COVID and had them published correctly with a dust jacket on the book. It was the best gift I could have ever given her. I love you, Mom.
A Blessing, To Those Whose Heart Aches On Mother’s Day By Kylie Beach
I always hesitate when I write about Mother’s Day. Not because I don’t like being a mom – I do! – and not because my mother isn’t great – she is!
It is precisely because I have been so undeservedly lucky as a mother and daughter that I hesitate. I don’t want my happiness to aggravate the pain of someone whose experience differs from mine.
Even writing this down makes me nervous. I have omitted the word “blessed” not to imply that God has chosen me to be good for rather than someone else. That’s not the God I know!
But when I use the word “lucky,” it sounds like I believe in fate or luck. And ironically, I hear my mother’s voice correcting me in my head: “We don’t believe in happiness; we are Christians!”
I have friends who have lost children, whose dreams of motherhood have not come true as they hoped, whose mothers are no longer on the earthly side, who wait in that limbo of hope, and whose own mothers have fallen far short of the greeting card descriptions that be given today.
I know that I love each ch of these people desperately, and I have no explanation for why our experiences differ so much regarding mothers.
So I know Mother’s Day will hurt for some reading this. And if that’s you, then I’m sorry. I keep you in my heart and pray for you as I type this.
I also want to tell you that I believe in a God who is a mother to the motherless. Who tucks us under her wings like a mother bird. Who is as intimate and nurturing as a woman who breastfeeds a baby. Who holds us close and calms us like a child that has just been weaned.
May that God, our Mother God, be your portion today, friends.