Mothers Day: A Mixed Message

Image: A bamboo candle and a small pink blossom (sonja_paetow / Pixabay)

To all those for whom Mother’s Day is a good day, may you get every bit of sweetness out of it! May you be present to those you love, may you connect with them in profound ways, may you make good memories you will keep for many years. May your mother and child reunion be joyful.

To all those for whom this holiday is painful because of a broken connection with your own mother or child, know that you are not alone. Do what you need to do to keep yourself safe: go to a movie, ignore the day, go for a run, do whatever will hold your soul together. It is hard, but know that the day will pass.

To all those who want children and do not have any, I know this day is especially painful. Seek out the friends that understand, if you are fortunate enough to have them. Do what you need to do to live with the pain. Write it out, exercise, anesthetize with a book or a movie, or pray: give God a piece of your mind. It’s OK to be angry; it isn’t fair.

To all those who have lost their mother, and who find this day excruciating in grief: I see you. May you be comforted among the mourners of this world, comforted in the arms of those who are still here to hug you. May your memories be at least as sweet as they are sad.

To mothers whose children have been taken from them, be it to death or to divorce or to some other awful loss, I see you. I know that this is a wound that cannot be healed; I know that there is a hole forever in your heart.

This is a day that is very important to some, and very difficult for others. If we have things we can be grateful for, may we be grateful. If we encounter someone who is in a very different mood than ours, may we be kind.

Shammai used to say: make your Torah study a fixed practice; speak little, but do much; and receive everyone with a pleasant face.

Avot 1:15

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

7 thoughts on “Mothers Day: A Mixed Message”

  1. Thank you so much. I have shared this, as part of my mother’s day post on Facebook. Your sensitivity and care is so very valuable and helpful. I hope you enjoy this day, as the loving mother and nurturer of so many.

    1. It is a mixed bag for me. My late mother and I had a painful relationship, and the day was always tinged with that pain. However I am blessed with a much happier relationship with my own children and that has sweetened it a lot.

  2. Profound words of comfort for so many. Except for my years as an insufferable, hormonal teenager, I had a wonderful relationship with my mom and am always sorry that it didn’t last longer. She went on into the next dimension way too soon. So happy Mother’s Day to you — you are so blessed with two wonderful sons and 12 furry little legs scampering about your beautiful home!

    1. You have mothered a lot of people, Linda – some that I know and more that I suspect. I think that counts, too. Some of us don’t get our mothering from our actual mamas, but from people who give us warmth and support through a difficult passage. Here’s to ALL the nurturers!

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