In one of my worst church experiences ever, on Mother’s Day people were stationed at the doors and as women walked in they were asked, “Are you a mother?” If you were, you received a carnation. If you weren’t, well you were denied one.
In the Catholic church I grew up in, all females were given flowers on Mother’s Day – even little girls.
I’m not certain which is more painful. People assuming you are a mother or not.
As I walked into the hotel dining room this morning, the waitress wished me a happy Mother’s Day. I smiled and said, “Thank you.” I’d temporarily forgotten it was Mother’s Day only to be reminded by all the carnations on the tables. I blinked back tears as the hotel staff scrambled around setting things up for a special brunch complete with balloons. I resigned to eat quickly and get out of there.
There are certain times of the year where you can’t by-pass reality. Instead it just smacks you in the face: My mother is dead and in less than two weeks, I’ll be 44 years old and will probably never bear a child. Likewise, as a single woman, I most likely will choose not to adopt.
In a culture that fixates on “baby bumps,” motherhood is treated like a sorority. Yet not all of us belong. It makes no difference if you work with children or own pets. It’s not the same. It’s an elite membership, if you’re on the outside – even if the club isn’t all its cracked up to be.