Last year, I wrote an article about how all I really want for Mother’s Day is a day off from being a mother. A whole day, in my house, with nobody here, no requests made of me, and no expectations that I will be productive in any way. It’s pretty darn great every year—but this year it will feel downright luxurious. Thanks to sheltering-in-place, I haven’t felt this connected to my children since they were literally still connected to me in the womb.
So many family walks and piling in the car for drive-by birthdays and finding shoes for neighborhood scavenger hunts and refereeing seating assignments for movie nights and clipping on helmets for bike rides and becoming a human ping pong ball to oversee school at the kitchen table and three meals a day at home every. single. day. There are a lot of things to be grateful for in that long list of togetherness—but mama won’t turn down a break.
One of the things about quarantine life is that you are forced to focus so intently on yourself and your people. When you see the members of your household so many hours of every single day—you can’t help but notice things about one another you hadn’t before, becoming more attuned to each other’s moods and tones. This can be a gift or a curse—which one it is probably depends on how you feel about the things you’re noticing about yourself more than anything else, though.
But it’s so easy to stay focused inward during this time. Lord knows we all have enough to worry about regarding keeping our own families happy and healthy during the most bizarre and stressful time period many of us have ever lived through. When you don’t bump into friends in carpool line or at work, when there are little to no opportunities to just stop and chat and ask somebody how they are doing, well—it’s easy to forget to look up and out. For me, the fastest way to feel sorry for myself is to forget to look up and out.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a prayer for some of the people I see when I manage to look up and out when it comes to Mother’s Day. In light of the weird lives we are living right now, I added a few more people and thought I would share it again. Happy Mother’s Day to those for whom this day is glorious and those for whom it’s hard and those for whom it’s confusing and those for whom it’s conflicting. Maybe if we all look up and out, we can all feel seen and connected this year when there are so many things to keep us closed off and apart.
A Prayer for Those for Whom Mother’s Day is Hard
For those far away from their mothers or children today by physical distance or emotional strain—may they feel your nearness.
For those separated from their mothers or children by their mistakes and missteps, by a broken system or broken promises—may they give and receive grace as you have shown us.
For those mothers and children kept apart out of love and concern, travel bans and quarantines, policies and stay home orders—may they feel connected by your love.
For those who long to be mothers but instead are treading the turbulent waters of infertility, or who know the ache and the anger and the emptiness of miscarriage—may they draw from your strength.
For the mothers who are anxious over their children’s health and safety and future, those who are overworked and overburdened and overwhelmed and just done—may they find security and rest in you.
For the mothers trapped at home with littles who never stop talking or making messes or needing feeding and don’t yet understand the concept of personal space—may they feel recharged in you.
For the mothers trapped at home with teenagers who have stopped talking and started thinking they don’t need anybody, least of all a mother who’s trying to keep them from making bigger messes—may they find fortitude and patience to weather this storm in you.
For those who parent alone, who wear all the hats in their homes, either by circumstance or by design—may they feel seen and supported by your love and your people.
For the birth mothers weighed down by the choices, or the lack of choices before them for the children they will give life to, but will not spend their lives with—may they find peace in you.
For the adoptive mothers whose names are still languishing on lists, whose hearts are open but whose futures are tied to so much red tape and uncertainty—may they find the endurance they need in you.
For the mothers for whom today is but a more acute reminder of all that they lost in the death of their child—may they find solace in your promise to walk with us through that which we did not get to go around.
For those mourning their own mother’s death every day, but especially today when they will not hear her voice tell them that they filled her time on earth with joy, that she is proud of who they’ve become, or that they are good parents themselves—may they see their mother’s pride in the eyes of their children or the family they’ve chosen, and find a lost mother’s love in you, who will never leave us.
Elizabeth Quinn makes her home in Northeast Jackson with her husband Percy and four children.