Mother’s Day marketing hasn’t caught up with the entire business of motherhood yet.

Here’s the truth: Not everyone feels flowery and candy-ish toward their moms, or about being a mom. We all understand the sweet sentiments, of course! But for people who have lost their moms, it can be a painful or lonely day.

And for people who had abusive or absent moms, it can be a difficult day indeed. This poem for Mother’s Day isn’t about candy or flowers; it’s about the reality of having a mom and being a mom.

Happy Mother’s Day in the real world.

For Mother’s Day

How do we celebrate our mothers — 
The ones who are here and the ones who aren’t?
The ones who gave their lives for us

And the ones who walked away.
The ones who lovingly directed our lives as if we were art projects
And the ones who never knew how to welcome us into the world.

How do we celebrate our mothers — 
The ones who were ready for anything we could bring
And the ones who were overwhelmed and exhausted by us.
The ones who held themselves liable for every possible outcome in our lives

And the ones who threw us into the deep end of the pool.
The ones who chose our fathers wisely, carefully
And the ones who were children themselves, desperate for love, or unable to choose anything at all.

How do we celebrate our mothers — 
Do we live out their dreams for themselves and for us?
Or do we fight against their hopes and fears and become the opposite child?
Do we follow their path and parent in their way, in our way, or not at all?

Do we care for our mothers as they age, and mother them as they die?
Or do we lose them before we can care for them, or before we know who they — and we — are?

How do we celebrate our mothers?
The complex ones and the simple ones
The peaceful ones and the raging ones
The ones who created stability
And the ones who shook the ground under our feet.

How do we celebrate our mothers?

~Karla McLaren

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