Pain and Celebration


Mother’s day is celebration and pain.

It is a day of gratitude: packed restaurants, sold out flower shops, breakfasts in bed, special church services, and a time to relax.

There is another side to this celebration that is not as visible. It is the side of longing and sorrow.

As I prepare to celebrate the blessing of my own amazing mother and the gift of her loving example, a piece of me is touched by grief.

I am in awe of the vibrant and lovely lives of my children who have given me the honorable and tiresome title of mother, but I also understand the pain of the celebration. I have felt it sharply, and I have watched you, my dear friends, as you feel it too.

You are not alone in pain and celebration.


Mother of the children you cannot hold, I, like you, have felt the barrenness of an empty womb and empty arms.

I stand witness to you, dear women, whose dreams of a family slip away with each passing year. I know grief is deep.

You, who feel the hole your mother did not fill, I hear you in the voices of my students as they express a longing for a mother to embrace them rather than the addictions or unrealistic expectations that damage and divide.

I, like you,  experience the aching of the date that sharply reminds me of the time of year a loved one left far too early.


I share your pain, and I celebrate because this is what Mother’s Day really is. It is a day of celebration in the pain.

It is a celebration of the mess, the straining, and the bleeding beauty of coming into the world. It is the dancing and laughing with bouncing and playing mixed with yelling and crying.

On Mother’s Day, we are reminded that we have each been born, and birth is the straining, glorious entrance to life.

Every step of life is pain in the midst of celebration.

Our pain does not need to be lost in the celebration. Celebration is always a mix of all the emotion because this is life, and life is a beautiful, imperfectly perfect mess.

On this day, we celebrate life, and we are here. That is worth a celebration.

So, today, let’s grieve, dance, eat, sleep, smell flowers, tell stories, and always remember… pain and celebration need not hide from each other because they are twins-born on the same day.

Happy Mother’s Day.



7 thoughts on “Pain and Celebration

    1. I was strong in the writing, and then I read your comment. I broke. The air became hard to breath and pressed heavily on my chest as I wept. I grieve with you. We have so much shared grief, and it means so much to never have to explain.

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