The Ghosts of Mother’s Day Past, Present, and Future


A day to celebrate motherhood, mother figures, and the mothers in our lives. Yes, Mother’s Day is near. The word mother is a noun, adjective, and a verb. It’s not just who we are, but what we do. As I reflect on Mother’s Day and the general sentiment behind it, I think about what it holds and has held for me in the past, present, and future.

Mother's Day


Mother’s Day of past consisted of being the author and artist of homemade gifts and cards. Coupon books included such luxurious offers as “I will not fight with my sister for one whole day.” or “This coupon good for thirty minutes of weeding.” My mom’s smile is etched into my memory, and I imagine those coupons brought her delight, despite the unlikelihood of them being redeemed! I don’t remember the meals we ate on those days or what dessert she requested. Even so, I knew it was her day, one in which we poured our love and attention her way. Did she do dishes afterwards? Probably. Did my sister and I still argue? Most likely. But on that day, I did what I could to make her feel special. I looked to my mom with admiration and love. Not because my favorite t-shirt would be clean Monday morning, but because she was mom, and she loved me back.


Due to his own sweet nature, and the support of my husband, my son is great at showering me with homemade cards and drawings. On Mother’s Day I receive lots of extra hugs and “I love you’s.” The real gift, though comes in watching my son grow into himself. I see his bravery in times when I myself feel scared. I admire his ability to linger and hold on for hugs longer than I might. The second Sunday in May will still consist of dishes and likely a reminder to clean up Legos. However I do reflect on how grateful I am to be his mom. It’s my day to linger in my glances at this boy who calls me mom. As I once looked up to my mom, I am now the one being looked up to. In the ways he is learning, I allow myself to pause and feel celebrated.


Ahh, now what lies ahead in the coming Mother’s Days? What will they hold? My hope is more togetherness and many more years of handmade cards. Yet I know one day there will likely be a shift, when there may be another woman in my son’s life that he begins to celebrate. Maybe it will be my turn once again to create a coupon book, this time with offers of babysitting, for date nights and weekends away.

Being a mother never leaves you. This week my husband participated in the Trans Iowa bike race, and I stayed in text communication with my mother-in-law. After riding through the night for over twenty-seven hours, I finally received a message from my husband, which in turn I relayed to his mother. He had not posted an update on the online blog, the only way racers communicate their status, and his mother had checked the blog at 4:00 a.m. and then again at 7:30 a.m. with no news from her son. She was grateful for my message and took a deep breath.

Early morning wake-ups, disrupted sleep, feeling as though your heart is wide open at any given moment. A mother is noun, an adjective, and a verb. Forever a part of the future, Mother’s Days and everyday.