#67: On Why I Avoid the Mother’s Day Church Service

#67: On Why I Avoid the Mother’s Day Church Service

Call me selfish.  Call me cowardly.  Call me overdramatic   But I stand by the promise I made to myself about 3 or 4 years ago:  I don’t go to church on Mother’s Day.

Most people would assume that Valentine’s Day is the worst holiday for singles, but for me, the hardest holiday is Mother’s Day.  If you’ve never been to a church service on Mother’s Day, let me paint you a picture.  The preacher gets up and has all the mothers stand up and everyone claps.  Then they play the “who’s been a mother the longest?” and “who’s been the mother the shortest?” and “Who has the most children and grandchildren?” game.  Then all the children come forward and get carnations to bring to their mothers.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I do not begrudge the mothers of world their due honor and respect.  They absolutely deserve a day of being pampered and told how much they are appreciated.  I love being able to honor my own wonderful mother.  But my mother lives in Florida, so I can’t be with her on this day and I think I would feel a little differently about things if I could be with her and spend the day with her.  But since I go to church without my family, the Mother’s Day church service has simply become a difficult reminder that the dream I have held since childhood is not going to come true, and there is nothing I can do about it.

In my early years of being single, it wasn’t as bad.  And even in my 30’s,  I still had the hope that, “OK, if I met my husband tomorrow, we dated a year, got engaged, married in 6 more months and I got pregnant in our first or second year of marriage, it could still happen.”  But as I entered my 40’s, and started doing the math… well… it has become less and less hopeful.

And really, truly, I did mourn this dream several years ago, and I am fine most of the time. I work with kids every day at work and every Sunday at church.  I have been blessed to be a part of the lives of so many children and I am thankful for that.

And the church I go to now doesn’t even go overboard on Mother’s Day.

So I really, truly was fine that Sunday a few years ago when I went to church, almost forgetting that it was even Mother’s Day. But during worship team rehearsal, someone walked in with the box of carnations for the kids.  And I suddenly started crying.  And by crying, I don’t mean that I got teary-eyed, I mean, I started CRYING. And I kept crying.  I cried through the entire rehearsal.  I managed to pull myself together before the service, but when we started singing, I started crying again.  And I continued singing and crying on stage.  And then I sat down.  And I cried through the entire service.  I tried to stop. I told myself I was fine.  But the tears wouldn’t listen.

People at church were were kind and supportive and one single friend, who is older than me and had adopted a little girl a few years ago,  took me to lunch.  We had a lovely time enjoying her little girl and just encouraging each other.

And even though the day turned out fine and the crying was certainly cathartic, I still made myself a promise.  Not that I will never, ever again to go a Mother’s Day church service, but that I don’t have to if I don’t want to.

And so far, it has been a good decision for me. And I know that someday I will be brave enough to go to the service and I will be able to unselfishly celebrate all the wonderful moms in our congregation and I will be content with the small, but important role that I get to play in the lives of their children.  And I will be able to support the other women for whom this is also a painful day.  The ones unable to have children, the ones who are estranged from their children, the ones who have lost their own mothers or have lost a child.

But in the meantime, I’m taking the easy way out and I’m OK with it.

Amy- Bradley Hand


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