The unknown influence you’re having today (whether you’re a mom or not)

Me with my mom's needlepoint pillow
Me with my mom's needlepoint pillow
Me with my mom’s needlepoint pillow

Growing up, I never expected I would have an interest in fiber. I didn’t give it much thought. I was busy with horses and an electric typewriter where I typed for fun!

For years as a child, I saw my mom do needlepoint, weaving the colors through canvas until a picture appeared.

After I left the house, she returned to knitting and made sweaters for my toddler son, and even a sweater for our beloved golden pit bull.

After her death, I bought knitting needles and thought I would try it in her memory. Years later, I’m still knitting and have added crochet to my repetoire.

She died without knowing I would be a knitter like her. She never knew her influence on me.

We can’t always tell how we are affecting others with our actions and choices. But we do.

This is why it’s important to do our best so we help future generations enjoy life.

Whether you are a mom, want to be a mom or will never be a mom yourself, blessings to all the women this weekend. Your loving heart makes a difference–keep on shining, my friends!

If Mother’s Day hurts

Beasley girlsI’ve looked, but I’ve never found a greeting card that says, “Mom, thanks for not killing me during one of your hallucinations.”

Complicated, striking, unforgettable: my mother. She suffered from schizophrenia and obesity, both conditions that made her a constant target for our society’s criticism. I was her shy, mortified child who trailed behind. With her loud breathing, she could have supplied the soundtrack to a horror film. She dressed in clothes that were too bright and shiny even for the 1970s. The volume of her voice dominated a room.

There was hell to pay if she didn’t receive a card for Mother’s Day. While she was alive, I browsed through hundreds of cards to seek the one I could honestly give. Most were sappy, and included sentiments like “Best Mom” and “Thankful I grew up to be like you”. I sought only the vague wishes that seemed truthful. Most years, I got something floral and noncommittal; “Thinking of you; happy Mother’s Day.”

I’ve been a mother myself for a decade and a half, but I don’t feel like I own the day. Mother’s Day belongs to my mother.

Gone for five years, she is still with me

I think of her most days. She would be so proud. She would delight in knowing that I spoke at the conference in Jeff City. She would put up this photo of my son with his state champion medal. She would love these artificially dyed fresh flowers in the grocery store.

Sunday is a day to celebrate motherhood for what it really is: snotty, competitive, clingy, exhausting, drippy, strengthening, messy, aggravating, holy and more fulfilling than anything else. All at the same time. It starts with babies who both smell like heaven and have a tendency to projectile vomit. It only gets more demanding from there. Motherhood isn’t neat enough to fit on a card.

You might miss the mom you had, or the mom you wish you had, or the mom you wish you could be, or the mom who remembered you before Alzheimer’s took her from you. Give yourself permission to make the day as comfortable as possible. You’ll reminisce. Indulge in what eases your mind. Do puzzles. Binge watch TV. Take a hot bath. Give extra smiles to everyone you see.

To the single moms out there whose kids won’t get it together to bring you breakfast in bed…

To the women who wanted to become mothers, but couldn’t…

To the stepmoms doing their best…

To the women who have lost a child…

To the ones who have lost their mothers…

To those of you who have a difficult relationship with your mom…

To all of you, I wish you an OK Mother’s Day.

If Mother’s Day hurts, remember you’re not alone.



Lord, bring your mercy and forgiveness
to our relationships.
Ease the ones who struggle.
Bless all of us, your children.

Tell me your thoughts!

How is Mother’s Day for you? Do you have plans? Do you have a favorite memory?

The things not posted

my momIt was Mother’s Day last weekend. I stayed off social media on purpose. Mother’s Day has always been a complicated day for me, for as long as I remember.

There are many who have close, supportive and loving relationships with their moms. I’m not one of them.

Non-gushy greeting cards

While my mom was alive, my relationship with her was confusing, complicated and unpredictable. Mother’s Day was an exercise in choosing a card that wasn’t gushy. I avoided anything that said, “Best.” If you haven’t shopped for a non-gushy Mother’s Day card, you’ve missed a challenge. It’s like looking for a Valentine’s card without a heart.

Now that she’s passed on, I don’t have to shop for a card anymore. The rest of my life will be motherless. But my relationship with her hasn’t ended. The resurrection of our relationship happened in forgiveness.

In being a mother myself, I see the impossibility of it. I have the good fortune to be sane. I don’t grapple with mental illness as she did and I still have days where I’m not the patient, loving mom I want to be. In raising my own son and writing my memoir, I understand what she faced and why she failed in the ways she did.

But how would I post that on Facebook? “Here’s a photo of my mom and I have mixed feelings about her.”

Not fitting the idealized picture

Mother’s Day is a hard day for those who have lost their mothers. You might feel like staying in bed and letting the day pass you by. If you are in this group, you’re not alone. It’s OK to feel sad, despite all the wishes of Happy Mother’s Day! Break the rules. If feeling sad because you miss her feels like the right thing to do, then I wish you a Sad Mother’s Day! You’re sad because you loved her.

There is the celebration of children on Mother’s Day. “Look at the flowers my son gave me! Here’s the glittery card they made at school! I was treated to breakfast in bed of Eggs Benedict!” I have the good fortune to have a healthy son right now but I’m aware that it’s not always the case. What about those who have children who are different? Children with developmental issues or health problems, children who will never understand the concept of Mother’s Day, let alone organize making a breakfast for it. Did you see any posts from mothers who wrote, “My son doesn’t make eye contact with me but I love him anyway and I’m doing the best I can to be a good mother.”

I don’t see the painful posts from the women who wanted to become mothers but didn’t. The words of, “I wanted to be a mother but miscarriages/finances/sterility/relationship issues/life got in the way so I’ll never know motherhood.”

What we see on Facebook can make others’ lives seem smooth and happy. If your own life seems grittier, harder and not as happy, consider the possibility of the things not posted.