Friday, April 25, 2008

The dread day approaches

OK, this is a rant, and will be something of a downer. Just let me get it off my chest, thanks. This post struck a nerve. (I did thank Jan for "getting it", which many people do not.)

Mother's Day is fast approaching. Mother's Day is not fun for everybody. In fact, it is so fraught with baggage I wonder whether it's much fun for anybody. Pastors, if you must mention it (and I realize you must), please don't make a huge to-do over it. My mother died in early May, and the very next Sunday was Mother's Day. That was 17 years ago, but every Mother's Day I relive it.

Another thing: I have some lovely memories of my mother, but not everyone's memories are pleasant. Enough said.

And then of course, some of us never become mothers. If you feel you absolutely must hand out carnations at the door after church, please admonish your ushers not to do what once was done to me--an usher handed me a flower and GRABBED IT BACK upon realizing that I didn't have children.

Now, I'm reluctant to skip church just because it's Mother's Day, but if you look for me after the service you'll find me busying myself in the choir room or around the sanctuary until the flowerfest is over.

Well, I deal with Mother's Day every year, and--despite all this ranting--by now it's more of a minor annoyance than a major trauma. I bet you've already noticed that this year it falls on Pentecost. Now there's a good place to put our emphasis that day. My red shoes are ready!

25 comments:

Songbird said...

(((zorra))) I think we've talked about this before. No matter where we are in the geometry of Mother's Day, it's not as simple as color-coded carnations would like to make it.

Presbyterian Gal said...

(((zorra)))

Growing up my mom always said that she never considered Mother's Day a real holiday. That it was created by Hallmark to sell cards. Same with Father's Day for my dad. And now, I can certainly understand what you're saying.

IMO it's not appropriate for churches to hand out posies, unless they're giving a posie to EVERYONE.

Recovering Baptist said...

This from a mother... I have never been able to understand why Mother's Day has become so ridiculous. I go to church to worship God not adore man or in this case mothers. The whole thing is extremely irritating and I have been known to stay seated when mothers have been asked to stand. We avoid restaurants like the plague, since the typical MD menu is a rip off, and I cook at home.

Kievas said...

I'm not big on Hallmark holidays in general, but I can see how this particular one (and likewise Father's Day) can be an issue.

mid-life rookie said...

Zorra,
I well remember the days I cried my way through Mother's Days. It was so hard to have the thing I wanted so badly being celebrated by others. I always try to remember those who want to be and aren't mothers as well as birthmothers who loved enough to let go in our prayer time at church. I will also admit that when I finally was a mother on mother's day, I was furious with my husband for not realizing it was important to me and not doing anything to recognize it. Our mutual friend Dogblogger struggles with this day as well. I'll let that be her story. So I've been on both sides. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as the day nears.

Jan said...

((Zorra)) I really appreciate your rant tonight. Thank you. I'm glad Pentecost is that Sunday--a much more celebratory day!

The Vicar of Hogsmeade said...

When I was 16, Mother's Day was the one year anniversary of my dad's death. When I was a preschooler, my dad was my primary caregiver so those "band aid" memories are of my dad not my mom.

And gifts purchased by my ex to be given to me by my children didn't help make Mother's Day any better.

DogBlogger said...

Thank you for posting this.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

You feel about MD like I feel about VD. I never ever thought about it that way.

(((zorra)))

Quotidian Grace said...

Add me to the list of those who would prefer to keep Mother's, Father's, Grandparents' and Children's Days out of worship.

It is truly driven by the Hallmarkian imperative. I'm not a fan.

Let us indeed get out the red shoes!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm so grateful that I wandered over here from another blog. I am not and never will be a mother, although my husband and I wanted a child badly. I've been to church on Mother's Day exactly once in 13 years, and I sobbed (as quietly as I could) throughout the whole service. (Fortunately my rector was cool about it.) Thank you for understanding that Mother's Day can be fraught with pain.

esperanza said...

Another one chiming in to say thanks for ranting. These things need to be said rather than suffered silently--though it's easier in some ways just to let it ride. This is my first year as a mother, but that doesn't take away all the years of pain and longing. I'm finding myself wanting to ignore it just as much as I have before. Pentecost, here I come! And, I'm a pastor, and it will only show up in the prayers, and the prayers will include lots of situations mentioned here, as well as some others. Blessings to you.

Singing Owl said...

What QG said. Meanwhile, I am stuck with it. But for all the reasons you mentioned, I mention but do not make a big deal. And while the sermon might be about the contributions of women, it does not focus on mothers. I am still reeling about reading that the usher GRABBED THE FLOWER BACK! We do give out flowers, but every girl and woman gets one.

zorra said...

Y'all are so great. I really appreciate your comments and the way you get it.
Ruth and Esperanza, welcome! Thanks for dropping by.

Diane said...

Thank you for your rant, zorra. I find solace in doing something for our moms, but I find it a sad day for me, in so many ways.

I'm preaching this year. Actually I think I preached last year, too, on Mother's day. I'm glad to have a really big church festival to celebrate, instead.

I still have dreams, sometimes, about motherhood....

Diane said...

(oh, wanted to clarify, I do a little luncheon for my husband nd my mom.) I don't really "do" mother's day in church. yuck. on the carnation. double yuck.

((zorra))

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Zorra, thanks for returning the visit by commenting on my blog, and thanks for the T.S. Eliot reference. I'll stop by again!

Kathryn said...

When we do Mothering Sunday here in the UK, the emphasis is very much on the mothering that so many different people of all ages provide...and EVERYONE gets flowers. Man, woman and child. I also have a space to light candles for disappointments...broken relationships, unfulfilled dreams...
I had my first miscarriage on the Friday before Mothering Sunday...(my father died the day before Father's day too, but thankfully that has never featured in the life of the church here)so even as I count the blessings that are my own family I hurt for so many others.
Big BIG hugs Zorra...And a huge bouquet of whatever virtual flowers you would most enjoy xxx

crosswick said...

Oh Zorra, I too had the proverbial posie not offered to me when I revealed that I was not a mother.....I had turned 30 that day and was in my 3rd year of infertility treatment. I fell out and the Hub had to usher me home. Kudos to the pastors and teachers that don't feel that an entire message must be fashioned around Mother's Day and Father's Day, as many have horrible or nonexistant memories connected with this "occasion." Besides, I love Pentecost! Bohemia!

zorra said...

Oh Crosswick, I remember...sometimes those days seem so long ago and sometimes I think it was just last week.
(Now when are you going to start blogging? Bohemia!)

Becky Ardell Downs said...

Zorra, I'll be preaching on Mother's Day/Pentecost/Ordination and Installation of Elders Sunday/Confirmation Sunday/My birthday here at the neighborhood church this year. I promise, we have WAY too much else going on to do much, if anything, for mothers' day. Please come and celebrate the birthday of the church with us! (we may even do the red balloons . . .)
A couple things I've done in the past are 1) to talk about the mixed love/hate/confusion relationships we all have with our mothers, and how nice it is to know that God can hold things together anyway; and 2) to talk about the original Mother's Day proclamation, which was certainly more about ending war and bringing reconciliation than it was about brunches and grocery-store orchids. Mostly though I've simply included in the pastoral prayer a thanks to God for all those who have acted as mothers to us. This year I may not even remember to do that.

Stratoz said...

we too are childless. I have been told that that means I hate children. I think that is right up there with the flower be yanked away.

Mosaic woman rarely attends church with me anymore, but that is one day she avoids. I even avoid it at times.

zorra said...

Thanks to all of you sweet people.

Becky, I knew I could count on you. ...We haven't done the red balloons in several years! That would be fun.

Wayne, I've heard the same thing. Sometimes people are morons. That's my professional opinion. :-S

Mary Beth said...

(Z) loves to you.

I hate Mother's Day. HATE. IT. No relationship can measure up to the Hallmarkian imperative and I am sick to death of it. I hate the gift part of Christmas for the same reason.

I celebrate you today, my friend! And I am looking for me some red Pentecost shoes!

Lindy said...

I wish we could just ban secular holidays from church. Mothers Day is possibly the worst day of the year.