A Litany of Mothering

 The brochures cluttering her letter box paint a charming Mother’s Day picture but Lee, the mother of two pre-schoolers, is learning that mothering isn’t nearly as soft and fluffy as the  pastel coloured slippers and dressing gowns suggest.First smile Mothering is tough. For a few moments he wonders what it might be like to walk out the door and never come back – and knows she could never do that.

Solicitor’s letter by solicitor’s letter Debbie and her husband have fought out the custody arrangements for their two small boys. Very soon her mothering will be split down the middle and the pain has already set in.

Month after month she waited for the everyday miracle of conception to happen. Now Emily sits in the specialist’s waiting room. It’s called exploring the options, and so far they have been intrusive, painful and costly. She wonders why God, who created her body to accommodate and nurture life, seems to say, “Not for you.”

Twice a week Ingrid visits her ninety two year old mum. Decades back it was her mother who looked after her, checked homework, scheduled dental appointments and made wonderful birthday cakes.  Now the child has become the mother and hovers lovingly, respecting her mother’s independence while worrying about unforeseen dangers.

She’s Jake’s mum. He’s eight and was born with cerebral palsy. The dreams she dreamed for him, and herself, have changed, revolve around small achievements. During those eight years she has learnt that the pull of love is stronger than the tug of a career.

Maureen had four children, but there will only be two cards this Mother’s Day. When they were young they formed a tight little unit. Then there was a divorce and the kids took sides. Now she grieves for the children who ignore her and the grandchildren she never sees.

In a noisy Thailand market a middle aged woman coos into the face of a newborn baby boy. Her arms remember the feel of another baby, nearly thirty years earlier. In a Melbourne florist shop a dark skinned young buys flowers for the woman he calls mum. Briefly he wonders about his other mother, the one he doesn’t remember.

It’s their monthly lunch date and Joan has a new crop of photos on her phone, ready to produce when the conversation gets around to grandchildren. She loves being a grandmother, able to enjoy the smiles and cuddles without the financial stresses, broken nights and toddler tantrums that accompanied her own mothering years.

Mothering God, we pray for the women who spread your mothering across the world:

for young mothers, coming to terms with new responsibility ;

for mothers who are tired, stressed or depressed; for mothers who struggle to balance work and family; for mothers whose children have physical, mental or emotional disabilities; for mothers who raise children on their own; for mothers who mourn the loss of children no longer part of their lives; for women whose desire to be a mother has not been fulfilled.

We pray this prayer through Jesus, who understands the demands and the love that accompanies everyday mothering.  Amen

Judith Lynch

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