This coming Sunday there will be mothers who may be pampered, perhaps with breakfast in bed prepared by little hands and gleefully presented as an offering of gratitude. There may be cards or gifts given or even a prearranged day of solitude . . . the one day out of the year when everyone goes away and leaves her to her own amusements. But there will also be mothers who drag themselves out of bed and away from their families, heading to work in an attempt to make ends meet, or at least pull them a little closer.
If the weather permits there may be strolls about the neighborhoods or perhaps family hikes through the woods or countryside, looking for new adventures to make new memories. But there may also be long, lonely walks down hospital hallways . . . or across cemetery grounds to one particular grave or, heaven forbid, several of them.
Perhaps a lovely meal has been planned where mom doesn’t have to lift a finger; she only has to enjoy her family as they gather, laughing and reminiscing—simply appreciating each other and the moment. Or perhaps she will sit in a quiet house, waiting for the phone to ring with a call from someone who never comes to visit, never gives her a hug or a kiss . . . or a thank you.
At the end of the day there will be mothers who read the mandatory book or sing the favorite song then gently rock their little ones to sleep before tucking them safely in bed. There will be mothers who are allowed to treasure the moments they spend cradling their children in their arms . . . and those who are forced to hold them only in their hearts.
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes . . . all ages, and colors, and stages in life. And the ways in which their day is recognized are just as diverse. There are mothers who will be pampered, and those who will not. Mothers who will be celebrated, and those who will not. Mothers who will be surrounded by family, and those who will not. Mothers who are blessed to have their children with them . . . and those who are not. Whatever the circumstances of their lives . . . whatever the manner in which Mother’s Day is—or is not—celebrated for them, does not change one undeniable fact about the vast majority. They are still mothers—strong women who have sacrificed and struggled, who have tried and are trying to create the best possible life for their families, who gave birth to the future and then did everything in their power to nurture and protect it. Whether their children are living or have left them behind, they are still mothers. And they always will be.
About the author: Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926. She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there. Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.