Living the motherhood vocation - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Living the motherhood vocation

I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. I hope that it will be a happy and peaceful day, however you choose or are able to celebrate it.

I am mindful that many have the joy of celebrating with their mothers on this occasion. Others observe the day by praying for their mothers who have died.

The recent deaths of the mothers of three friends of mine led me to think about Mother’s Day earlier than I usually do this year. Thinking about and praying for my friends in their grief made me aware that May 8 would be a tough day for them and for many others who experienced the same loss this year.

Those considerations spilled over into thoughts about how Mother’s Day changes and how it remains the same as the years go by.

For years our family’s custom had it that we gathered at my sister and brother-in-law’s house. Helen and Jim always prepared an elegant meal in honor of my mother, who rejoiced in the company of her family and took special delight in her five granddaughters. All of us saluted my mother and sister, the two honorees of the day.

Things have certainly changed in recent years. My mother died 10 years ago this coming July. Since her death, four of my nieces have become mothers. And with all of that, as you can imagine, there have been changes in how we observe Mother’s Day.

Full family gatherings still happen, but they are harder to pull off, given distance and a wide array of new relationships. When the plenary sessions happen, we rejoice in them. When they are not possible, the remnant who can make it give our latest updates on all of those not with us. And, of course, we join with the millions of other citizens who overload telephone circuits sending greetings to one another.

One of the intriguing aspects of such gatherings is to observe the different ways in which the women in my family live out their vocations to be mothers. My mother had her own way of doing it. So does my sister. And, so does each of my nieces. Some of each one’s uniqueness comes from their different personalities, some comes from changing times and different circumstances.

The common note is that they all love their children, want what is best for them and center much of their affection and energy on the well-being of the little ones.

When we were growing up, my sister and I walked to school and came home for lunch every day. The same was true for my sister’s daughters, at least through grammar school. Members of the next generation all ride school buses and eat their lunch in school. One of my nieces is a stay-at-home mother and delights in it. The other three have careers outside the home and enjoy their lives very much.

I do hope that God gives me enough years to observe the way in which my grandnieces live out motherhood, should that be their call in life. My suspicion is that they will share the core values that moved the three generations ahead of them. But, I also suspect that those values will be expressed according to their own personalities and gifts and in a set of circumstances much different from the ones in which we live.

Please extend my very best wishes to your mother on this special day. And rest assured of my prayers for her if your mother has already been called home to God.

Peace to all.

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