Monday 9 May 2016

Mothers Day Reinvented

I always approach Facebook-Mothers Day with some trepidation, because it can be filled with rosy images of loving Mothers Day wishes.  Which is wonderful, except if Mothers Day can be a painful time for you, and I know many for whom that is true.  The first thing I saw yesterday was this breathtakingly beautiful poem, which I have shared at the bottom of the post, in case you missed it.  It was shared by Fixing Her Eyes on their Facebook page.  It's long, but worth it.

If you had asked me 10 years ago how I would most like to spend my Mothers Day, I would have given you a fairly predictable response.  It would have involved copious amounts of tea, time lazing in bed, and yummy food.  If I could spend a decent portion of it not actually interacting with anyone, then so much the better!

This was worth going out in the rain for!

Well, I do like these things still, but I've discovered my perfect* Mothers Day is hardly like I envisaged at all.

A cup of tea in bed is still mandatory.  I can't possibly be expected to function without it.

Yummy food is still the order of the day.

But the thing that has surprised me most is that my preferred way to spend the day is to go for a 5km run, with hordes of other people.  Yes, you read that right.

And I've also roped in a friend who is equally introverted, bookish, and prefers the quiet life with copious cups of tea (and coffee, but I forgive her for that).

I am so thankful that I have a Super Hero Husband who is willing to facilitate all of this.  We drive a couple of hours to stay with my friend, get up moderately early, and then get into the run.  Because she and I aren't really runners, we do the shorter run, which considerately starts at the civilised hour of 9.30.  Because it's in Canberra, it means we only had to leave around 8.45 to get there in time for all the fun before the race (no traffic hassles, no parking hassles etc.)

Most importantly, my Super Hero Husband is willing to entertain the children while we get to run.  He takes them off to play nearby, then corrals them again to return to the finish line to cheer us on!  He even takes all the photos we insist on, happily!

Today he earned Husband Bonus Points because this all happened in the rain.  Win!

As we ran today, we discussed how surprising it is that we now like doing this...

And we conjectured, and pondered.

Instead of grieving the painful things that Mothers Day can remind us of, I choose to make it different.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself that I still have to actually *gasp* mother on Mother's Day, I choose to change my attitude.

A few years ago I signed up for Mothers Day Classic as a commitment to exercise and get fit, and to see whether I could do it.  I was incredibly nervous - I'd never done anything like that before.  I really felt that I wasn't a 'runner', and everybody would know that I didn't belong there.
Obligatory mid-run selfie
What I discovered was...
We're not sure if it's working for us or not!
...I run, so therefore I'm a runner. (I'm not fast, but that's not the point!)
...I surprised myself by managing to run the entire distance without stopping (I think I can, I think I can)
...the joy of achieving an unlikely goal
...the camaraderie amongst a bunch of people, all there for the same purposes (to have fun running, and to support a great cause).  Especially amongst other mums:  everyone has a smile of encouragement - we are in this together!  There's none of the catty women-cutting-other-women down thing I've heard about (but never seen by the way...)
...that Endorphins seriously rock
...that my body works better when I'm moving it
Finish Line Selfie, We made it!!
As I ran, I pondered again, about why I was there.  It's all about how I can choose for myself...   I choose
So lovely to see at least one of these Super Heroes wearing a cape!
I choose hope
I choose health, and being a good role model for my kids, and letting them see options they might choose one day too
I choose community, joining with others in helping fight breast cancer,
I choose to make my body strong by exercising it
I choose to discover empowerment by being fit and active
I choose to create memories
I choose fun and camaraderie

I choose joy on my Mothers Day
Well, I think that's just fabulous advice!
Note:  I am incredibly grateful that I have a husband, and kids, who are able and willing to help me facilitate all of this, and I know that many don't.  

* I use the term advisedly.  Perfect is not actually ever possible, so my version of perfect is not about adhering 100% to every letter of a plan, but rather having a lovely day, with people that I love.

A prayer for Mother's Day

adapted by Heidi Carrington Heath and originally written by Amy Young (h/t Emmy Rettino Kegler) & shared by Sarah Bessey 

I want you to know I'm praying for you if you are like Tamar, struggling with infertility, or a miscarriage.
I want you to know that I'm praying for you if you are like Rachel, counting the women among your family and friends who year by year and month by month get pregnant, while you wait.
I want you to know I'm praying for you if you are like Naomi, and have known the bitter sting of a child's death.
I want you to know I am praying for you if you are like Joseph and Benjamin, and your Mom has died.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if your relationship with your Mom was marked by trauma, abuse, or abandonment, or she just couldn't parent you the way you needed.
I want you to know I am praying for you if you've been like Moses' mother and put a child up for adoption, trusting another family to love your child into adulthood.
I want you to know I am praying for you if you've been like Pharaoh's daughter, called to love children who are not yours by birth (and thus the mother who brought that child into your life, even if it is complicated).
I want you to know I am praying for you if you, like many, are watching (or have watched) your mother age, and disappear into the long goodbye of dementia.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if you, like Mary, are pregnant for the very first time and waiting breathlessly for the miracle of your first child.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if your children have turned away from you, painfully closing the door on relationship, leaving you holding your broken heart in your hands. And like Hagar, now you are mothering alone.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if motherhood is your greatest joy and toughest struggle all rolled into one.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if you are watching your child battle substance abuse, a public legal situation, mental illness, or another situation which you can merely watch unfold.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if you like so many women before you do not wish to be a mother, are not married, or in so many other ways do not fit into societal norms.
I want you to know that I am praying for you if you see yourself reflected in all, or none of these stories.
This mother's day, wherever and whoever you are, we walk with you.
You are loved.
You are seen.
You are worthy.
And may you know the deep love without end of our big, wild, beautiful God who is the very best example of a parent that we know. 

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