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THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

We used to always go to the Black-Eyed-Pea for Mother's Day. My sister and I would cheer from the backseat of the car when Dad would suggest skipping church service to get to the restaurant early. We'd all meet back at the car after Sunday school. [I can see Michael reading this and trying to understand the difference between church service and Sunday school and marveling at how we spent almost four hours in church on Sundays.] Randy, Katrina and J would meet us at the restaurant and I'd get a Shirley Temple. I always finished my meal quickly at this place because there was a bookstore right next door. My parents would let me go hang out there while they finished up. I read one whole book from the Chronicles of Narnia series once while waiting on them to come get me. 

Mother's Day was much simpler then. 

I find that age and time have added a complicated layer to Mother's Day. For me, the day feels slightly forced. I know that is my own resistance to the idea of being thrown into the so called role of motherhood. It still sits awkwardly because I don't feel very motherly when it comes to the Cabbage. As I was leaving Dr. Mary's Tuesday night, she called me back to her office. She said "I started to tell you to have a good Mother's Day, but I stopped myself because you're not a mother. But then I thought 'No! You are a mother'. So Happy Mother's Day." That same evening, the Cabbage gave me an art project she made just for me, covered with elephant stickers and Happy Mother's Day written across it. I knew she was up to something because she picked out all of her supplies when we went to the craft store over the weekend. I guess I was surprised that it was all her idea. No one prompted her. I am still trying to wrap my head around how it is that she sees me as some kind of mother figure.  

I am also keenly aware of just how difficult Mother's Day is for others. At times, this made up holiday seems a little cruel. You cannot avoid all of the marketing that goes out regarding the celebration of mothers. That has got to be hard for people who no longer have their mothers with them, but it also has to be difficult to be a mother and no longer have your children with you. Maybe part of the reason I resist being on the receiving end of Mother's Day is that I know that the statement that motherhood is hard is simplifying the actuality. I don't feel worthy of the title because I have not experienced the emotions that mothers experience. I have not experienced the joys and the struggles that come with being a mother. It is more like I occasionally dabble in motherhood and that's mostly by just making sure the Cabbage has clothes that fit her. And carrots to eat. But I guess this enitittles me to a moment of kindness and lots of elephant stickers.

Of course I am thankful for my own mother. She held my house together while my life was falling apart. And I am thankful for the tribe of women my mother relied on to help raise me. I am thankful for the lessons they taught me and I am thankful my mother had that support. I read a lot blogs written by women who are mothers, not because they are moms, but because they are amazing writers. I am thankful for those women for sharing their words and craft. I am thankful for the example they lead and how they encourage each other. I am thankful for all of the women bloggers I read, mothers or not because of the way they encourage each other. I follow a good crowd of women. It makes me want to be a better person.

It gives me hope.