Today is a complicated one for many people. They call it "Mother's Day," but it doesn't necessarily always evoke happy feelings for everyone. There may be some people who didn't have what they considered to be a good mother. There may be some mothers who wish they were better at it. There may be some people who wish to be mothers and aren't or can't be for whatever reason. So for as much as the greeting cards and jewelry companies wish us to spend money to tell the women in our life how wonderful they are, those sentiments are often accompanied by feelings of guilt or inadequacy.
I enjoy wishing a happy Mother's Day to men I know. It usually catches them a bit off guard and they wonder why I'm doing that. They have mothers too, for one thing. And for another, if it weren't for them, their wives wouldn't be mothers (in the cases where that applies, obviously).
I think that many people that Mother's Day will involve going to church and hearing talks from people who seemingly have everything together and either are or have had perfect mothers. Whatever "perfect" means. The congregation I attend recognizes that it's an uncomfortable day for many people, so they acknowledge all women over 18 with a piece of See's candy. Personally, I'm not really crazy about standing up at the end of the meeting until one of the young men hands me my chocolate reward for my chromosomal makeup and age, but I do enjoy a good piece of chocolate, so I play along.
My favorite part is when sweet families thank me for being a good auntie to their children. I got a dark chocolate bar accompanied by the sweetest note I may have ever possibly received from a wonderful family in my ward. That was my highlight of the day - knowing that even if I haven't birthed a child of my own, I still matter in important ways.
And of course I'm thinking of my own dear sweet mother on this day. We didn't really buy into the commercialism of this day, to my memory. Whether that was conscious on our part or more because I just used the excuse of her birthday being so close to Mother's Day that I figured, "Eh, why bother?", I don't know. But it did not lessen her importance in my life at all. She wasn't perfect, and would be the first to tell you that, but she loved me, which she'd also be the first to tell you. And I think that's what it all comes down to - family is comprised of people who love you best and most. The labels we give them don't matter as much as their tender love and care. We all are mothers, and fathers, and sisters and brothers and aunties and uncles.
Happy Mother's Day to you.