It has been a few days since the celebration of Mother’s Day. Normally, it is a family and fun day filled with partying and joyous expressions of appreciation for Mom. She deserves it. For years under great duress she has stuck by us, warned us, protected us, healed our wounds and cheered us on to greater heights.
In the back of my mind are another group of mothers who were sad because of that special day. It marks the memories of painful moments. Those warm tears return too often and are compounded on Mother’s Day. There is an incessant ache in your heart as if there were a hole there that leaks love, dreams and smiles. Will you let these simple words soak up some of that pain?
Those special moms on my mind are single moms. They became moms because of some man but for one reason or another he is no longer in the picture. I do not know of a good reason or a happy reason for him being gone but he is nevertheless left her to be mom and find some way to fill in for dad.
She works at least two jobs, sometimes three to make ends meet. Somehow she can cook up dinner, help the kids with their school work, referee fights and make a dollar both pay the bills and feed the family. Once the children are tucked into bed, she finds enough energy to tidy up the place, prepare the sack lunches for school the next day, do a load of laundry, brush her own hair and then sob herself to sleep out of sheer exhaustion and sadness.
This solitary life has its downsides during the day. She is terrified that the phone will ring and an emergency with one of her children will call her away from work again. In her spirit is a work ethic that will not let her cheat her colleagues when she cannot pull her own weight.
Church is a different story. People have treated her with distance ever since she found herself alone. Married women give her that look, almost hiding their husbands.
She has heard the cloaked criticisms, “That’s what social agencies are for. They should help her.” Or the veiled harsh spirit, “Our church will help that family some day. I heard that they are starting a used clothes closet and food pantry for just this thing.” All she really needs is a friend, true Christian love of acceptance and a real word of acceptance.
Single moms, I salute you. A very happy Mother’s Day to you. You are amazing!
photo credit: brucefong photography