It happens every year. In fact, just a couple weeks from now will be year three for my children that Mother’s Day comes around without their Mom. It never ceases to amaze me how people just don’t know how to react to kids who don’t have a Mom. Before you say this doesn’t apply to you, think about who may be in your immediate sphere of influence: someone like me, children whose mother passed away. There may be a family with two Dads. There may be a family with grandparents who took over. None of them have a “Mom” per se, either.
I get the confusion, I really do. I’m not the kind of person who walks into a school and says, “You’re hurting my child with this celebration of mothers because they don’t have one!” Beyond the fact that’s unfair to both the kids and Moms in their classroom it’s not how I look at things.
I understand, of course, that I’ve used the phrase “motherless children” and even posted a video about that being a description of my kids. It’s technically a true phrase. I, however, don’t really believe that my kids shouldn’t celebrate or honor Mother’s Day. The reason? They have people who mother them.
Related: Our Story Begins: Motherless Children (VIDEO)
First and foremost, without question, is my own Mother. It’s amazing to me how we survived and it is in no small part at all that my mother – and father, for that matter – came and basically lived with us for months. She’s already raised three boys and now she was helping us, too. She walked into our home just about an hour or so after I had to tell my kids their mother passed away. We went from having the weight of the world on our shoulders to taking a huge cleansing breath and realizing that someone who knew what they were doing had arrived. I always loved my Mom, without question. I adored her after that day three years ago.
Second . . . their Aunt. My wife’s sister has been there for us whenever we needed help. No matter how inconvenient – and in my life, it’s always inconvenient – she’s helped when we’ve asked. When I needed to run out of town or when the kids needed a place to have their birthday we went to her home. She helped us cope and we all healed through the loss together.
When the first Mother’s Day came around there were a couple family friends who offered to take my kids to the Mother’s Day Tea that they held at school. They didn’t want my children to feel left out. Again, when I need help, these women are there, without question, until I can arrive and take over. They mother my children when I’m not close enough to get them right away.
But it was my daughter who said this to me last year: “Happy Mother’s Day, Dad!” As much as we have wonderful, maternal women around us, the kids have embraced the fact that their Dad is trying to do the job of both. It’s a testament to our family that when the young checker at Target is more embarrassed than I am that my coupons coming out of the register are for feminine hygiene products. My oldest daughter, home for Spring Break, sat at dinner, took a bite, and said, “God…I missed your cooking!”
We don’t ignore this day, though we certainly could have tried. The lesson my kids are telling everyone is this: we may not have a Mom…but that doesn’t mean we don’t have people mothering us.
What about you? Do you help those who might need assistance or advice? Do you think about the people around you without their Mother? What does Mother’s Day mean for you?