The Many Modalities of Mothers’ Day

"Arise, then, women of this day!... Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies... Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience’... From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, ‘Disarm! Disarm!’”

– Julia Ward Howe, Unitarian, Mothers’ Day Proclamation for Peace, Boston, 1870

This weekend brings the holiday called alternately “Mothers’ Day”, “Mothering Day” or “Mothers’ Day for Peace”. Folks will be observing this in different ways, depending on their family constellations and their stage in life. It is good to remember to be gentle with one another this weekend, as all our experiences are not alike.

Photo of birds next with baby birdsSome will be remembering or missing their moms or grandmothers, particularly those who’ve died in recent years. Some will be visiting family and their moms or grandmothers with delight, others with concern. Some will be working or taking care of their moms, grandmothers, nieces, nephews, godchildren or their own children. Some may be dutifully calling the mothers- or missing the children- with whom they have deeply conflicted relationships. Some will have the toughest path, mourning pregnancies that ended or never happened, or children who have died.

Some will be celebrated. Some may be eating breakfast in bed and then cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Some (I hope!) will come to Sunday service to celebrate, reflect and enjoy the music. Some may be going to graduations while others protest the war in Gaza or mourn graduations that have been cancelled. Some will be walking in or sponsoring the 28th annual Mothers’ Day Walk for Peace, a gathering and fundraiser in Dorchester for the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute that honors loved ones who have been murdered.  The theme this year is “Cultivating Cycles of Peace.”

Our society seems to take almost every religious or justice-oriented holy-day and turn them into an occasion to purchase gifts and eat sweets; after all, who doesn’t like gifts and sweets? Mothers’ Day is no exception. It is not widely known as a day to commit to cultivating cycles of peace or justice. And maybe that’s OK, as long as we intentionally support efforts to cultivate peace and justice in other ways, on other days, as we do at North Parish.

Wherever and however this weekend finds you, I hope you can find something in it that will be good for your soul. If you are mourning your mother or grandmother, a sister or dear friend, maybe this is a year to do something in their name- whether to just plant some flowers, write them a letter, or make a donation to a cause that supports women or peace. There are plenty to choose from, and plenty of people quietly doing good and important work in this world!

Wishing you peace,
Rev. Lee