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Sunday, May 11, 2008

I'm a Mother!

Today I celebrated my first Mother's Day.

Yes, really. And quite unexpected.

Last night, although I didn't get much sleep for some reason, I did have a few dreams and in one of them, I had a baby. Most of the details of the dream remain hidden from me, but I woke up with some sense of motherhood, of having a little one of my own, with both the joy and terror at the very idea.

I had to work today, more First Communions, and just before Mass one of my volunteers (a REALLY IMPORTANT one, an expert, without whom I would be lost) gave me a corsage and a rose. Before I could object she said, "I know you don't have children of your own, but we're all your children. You mother me!"

This, from a woman who could be my grandmother, and of course, who mothers ME all the time!

One of the teachers from the school, who really is a mother, also received a corsage from the volunteer, and she told me, "'re a mother to the parents...!"

And yes, she's right. But I never considered this to be a day to celebrate spiritual motherhood, and I even have a hard time wrapping my mind around that concept. I don't feel like a mother, and yet, a great deal of my job is to serve as a mother somehow.

Then, at Mass, when Father gave the blessing for mothers, while priority was of course given to REAL mothers, he also mentioned spiritual motherhood, and I realized he was talking about people like me, and how blessed I really am to be in such a position. And how terrifying it is. Because such an idea comes with responsibilities. And yet, after this year of preparing the sacramental class, I have more understanding of why parents are so strict with their "firsts", and why it's so awful when they work so hard to plan something...and it goes wrong. Because the smallest details are important.

This weekend, with the First Communions, some things went wrong in the organization, someone wasn't listed who was supposed to be there, likely my error, possibly the parent's, and that just lead to a discovery of more problems. But the most important things worked out, the details that could work out did work out, and if it weren't for the women helping me who found it necessary to be my mothers today, I have no idea how it could have worked.

Father's homily today discussed the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how necessary all of us are to the Body of Christ. We all have gifts, we all have something to offer. And what a lesson, which comes home to me in so many different ways, especially today!

Even after Mass, many of the parents (most of whom know I do not have children) wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" and applied it to my children in the future.

They don't know that I'm considering religious life, or of course, that I may never get married and have my own. So in some ways I'm a little sad at that thought, almost like I'm betraying them. Yet, if I enter consecrated life, I WILL be a spiritual mother to countless children.

In some ways I'm sad; my own Mother isn't even asking my brother and I anymore when we're going to get married and give her grandchildren. And she really wants grandchildren, but I think she may be resigned to the fact they may never appear. This disappointing idea is not new to her.

My Mom came from a very large family and was the youngest when her mother died. She became a big sister when Grandpa remarried, so always knew the importance of family. When she herself got married, she wanted children so badly! But the doctor told her that she could never have children...she was completely brokenhearted.

Then Mom got pregnant with my brother, and then with me. My brother arrived into the world in 1972, and I arrived in 1974. No children for Mom, indeed! God always triumphs over the world's follies. Yet she still suffered; she was pregnant with me in 1973 when Roe v. Wade passed, and people would approach her in places like the grocery store and say to her, "People like you shouldn't have children!"

Why would anyone say anything so hurtful? Because Mom was born with only one hand. And she dared to become a mother.

My mother suffered greatly through that era and to bring me into the world, and she suffered unspeakably throughout my life.

Motherhood by necessity involves suffering. I don't feel deserving of the title today, especially considering my own mother.

I sure do hope that, before she leaves for eternity, that she will be assured of my status in this life, either married or safely within consecrated life (or at least well on the way towards one or the other!). But for now, I don't deserve the title to which she has given so much dignity. I can't compare to a real mother, and I don't want to. I'm not ready. But I'm willing to accept that one way or another, I'm in the wings.

Congratulations and THANK YOU to all of you Mothers out there! Know that when you think you are least appreciated, you are living out your most powerful moments. God Bless You!


Melody said...

Thank you for pointing out the idea of spiritual motherhood. There are indeed many women who have mothered me in that way, including some nuns. I need to stop and give thanks for them. There was a time when Mother's Day made me very sad, because my Mom and grandmothers have all passed on. But now I find that I think more of the happy memories. I felt their presence with me this morning at Mass.
My son's girlfriend, whom I have only met a couple of times, sent me a very pretty card for Mother's Day. I thought that was sweet of her, and maybe a good sign of things to come.
I think motherhood is part of who we are as women, in one way or another, whether or not we have kids. Praying for the Blessed Mother to guide you, as you discern your path in life.

Sister Caprice said...

Wow! That's something I hadn't considered before...I want to have children, but maybe I'm called to be a sister. Now I see that I can have everything. Thanks!

Anyway, so you're discerning, too? Are you a perpetual discerner? Do you want to join our community? I can send you an invite?

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was a teacher, then a director, in a child care center. When I was asked if I had any children, I would say I had 72 and they all went home with their parents at the end of the day.

Now, although I am no longer working in a child care center, I have 2 nephews to whom I am a Godmother. I also teach JA (Junior Achievement) to 6th graders & 3rd graders. And if that was not enough, I also have 2 nieces & another nephew as well as friends' children to whom I am close.

You are so correct when you mention spiritual motherhood. Although these are not my children, because I am Catholic and I choose live the faith, it is imparted to me to help teach the faith through my life. This could be talking about God, showing how I live the faith, praying the Rosary, or just going to Church. We are all called to help the children (and others) grow in their get to Heaven.

In the 80's we would often read a book to the children "It takes a village to raise a child." Although I do not remember who wrote the book, it was out long before Hillary Clinton wrote hers. And how true this takes all of us to raise children!

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Spiritual Motherhood is a great gift and good that you mentioned it...Happy Monday after Pentecost!

Manda said...

If it helps...

I think God will let you know if and when you should have kids. Listen to your heart... that is where God is. It sounds to me as if God has other plans for you and is steering you away from having kids right now. Maybe you are meant to perform other tasks at this time in your life.

A lady that I know never wanted kids. She disliked them. Then when she was 40, everything changed. She told me that one day she woke up and she wanted them so badly. God decided it was time and took away her fears.