Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother Plants

In our family tree with more nuts than leaves, we have an eclectic selection of mother's to choose from:
  • There is the mother that you dutifully tend (much like a delicate plant that you periodically get tired of coddling, you know...the kind that you tend to fertilize quite a bit)
  • The mother that you ignore (like a weed you can't get rid of, no matter how hard you try, and no matter how hard you wish, it will never be a rose)
  • The mother that loves whatever you thought of at the last minute (the hardy variety that can live through the cold, but prefers warm; that can make it through the dry periods but really blossoms with a little water and attention)
  • The mother that never really bloomed (I always call plants with a lot of promise, but with no results - duds)
  • Those who have no children yet, but you know they will make great moms some day (the seeds)
  • And those who love everyone else's children like their own, but they don't have any themselves (I can't think of a good analogy for this one so I will simply call them surrogate plants.)
I know I must write on these mother plants, because I am certain others can relate to this.

Because of the strange and broadly ranged types of mother's which we must deal with in our lives, to have a holiday in which you must make a choice as to exactly how you are going to recognize/honor such people seems to be....well...annoying - and I am a mother! The truth of the matter is, no matter how much we might wish it to be, not all mothers are the "Hallmark" variety. In fact, I am positive that no one is the Hallmark variety, but some put forth a good effort. However, there is just no card out there that says, "gee, you were not a very good mother but Happy Mother's Day to my favorite egg donor." I know that comes out as harsh, but seriously, some people who produce children were never meant to be parents; yet, their children are often quite delightful, so I'm glad they put forth the effort anyway.

So, we have this holiday that makes us not only look at the type of card we would purchase for our mother, but makes us stop and think about what type of card our children are really thinking about when they buy one for us. Are we being that hearty variety that loves whatever your children bring to you, or the variety that is so gosh-darned particular our children live in fear of never being good enough, or even worse are we weeds or duds. Then there is the surrogate plant that feels unfairly left out of this particular holiday all together.

Don't get me wrong, I love Mother's Day, because this is the one day a year that my children will make the effort to be there all at the same time. But even if my children are in another city or not right there with me for Mother's Day, I am still a mother, and the relationship I establish with my children will be carried on to the next generation, and quite possibly the one after. If my children think I am a horrible mother that they completely want nothing to do with me, then I will never know my grandchildren. But if they think I am a bad mother then in their effort to be nothing like me, they will throw out good teaching with the bad, which will have an effect on how they raise their children.

At any given time my children, who have no children of their own, have judged me as b0th a good mom and one they disagree with, (if they don't hate me, they have seriously disliked me from time to time.) I am curious what they will think of my parenting when they have children of their own, and have a greater appreciation for parenthood in general. I don't believe any of us are perfect, and those of us who have that wretched "A type" personality with a smattering of perfectionism can go absolutely stark-raving bonkers if we are trying to judge our parenting by whether our children like us at any given moment.

But motherhood isn't a popularity contest, it isn't even an endurance test although it feels that way on occasion. Motherhood is about being a trustee, a caretaker for another, in this case, we are caretakers for God. God gives us children to raise up in the way they should go, so when they are old, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Once they are ready to go out on their own, the only thing we can do is to pray for them and give them over to God.

Too often, with those who want to win the motherhood popularity contest, we do our children a great disservice because we never train them up as God wishes. We would rather them like us, than to tell them they are going to go to church. In the effort of being a good parent, we give them too broad of choices for their lives, and when they make the wrong choices, we abdicate our responsibility with the cliché that "children will be children." Yes, but children shouldn't be acting like children when they have their own children.

So, I guess the point of this rambling mess is that Mother's Day should not be the day that we seek glory for having gone to the bother of birthing children, which would require our children to honor us whether they feel like it or not. It should be the time in which mothers around the country ask, "what kind of plant am I?"

For my friends out there who are the surrogates, I love you. There are too many children out there seeking a good mother figure. Provide one for them, whether they are yours or not and Happy Mother's Day to you as well.

Her children rise up and call her happy. Proverbs 31:28

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