Saturday, March 25, 2006

Mothers Day Masquerade

It was Mothers Day, and the church was packed with women:

There, on the front row, sat the minister’s wife, with her three boys – 8, 6, and 4. They were a handful…and every time she entered the church, she felt the pressure to turn out perfect little angels; sensed the disapproval with every boisterous misdemeanour. Her husband didn’t understand; called her ridiculous; accused her of being over-sensitive…

A few rows further back sat an older woman, the picture of respectability. No one knew of the baby girl, born out of wedlock, a life-time ago, whom she had given away, put up for adoption (not even – especially not – her husband of these past 26 years). Back then, society might have already become more relaxed about such things; but her own parents had not. She had not knowingly seen her daughter since the day she was born; but she could not look at a woman in her early thirties without wondering whether this could, just possibly, be…or enjoy her friends’ grand-children without wondering whether she, too, was a grandma…

Next to her, a younger woman: an adopted child, she had never known her birth mother, and had no desire to meet her now. She also had no intention of bringing an unwanted child into the world, thank you very much. No one knew that she had had her first pregnancy terminated two years ago; or that she planned to have a second abortion this coming Tuesday. She would go out of town – on a “business trip” – to make absolutely sure things stayed that way…

Across the room, two full-time-working mums: one who would not have it any other way – she was good at her job, and why the hell should she give it up just because they had a family now? No one dared suggest her husband should put his career on hold…the other mum, juggling her responsibilities at work and home, weighed down by a hefty burden of guilt that she was failing her young family by not being there 24-7…

And behind them, the Stay-at-Home mum, secure – to the point of being smug? – in the knowledge that she was fulfilling her role as wife and mother, home-maker…

There was the woman who had had a miscarriage just months earlier; who should be preparing her home for the new arrival by now; the occasion rubbing salt into her raw wound, making her heart bleed all over again…And the woman who had had multiple miscarriages; who (genuinely…on her good days) rejoiced with every pregnant friend; and yet, at the same time, somewhere inside, resented every baby that she saw…And the woman who so desperately wanted a child that it shaped her every moment: who would be woken at night by the sound of her baby crying, and be out of bed before she remembered that she had no baby – nor a husband to give her a baby, for her need was so great it scared away every man who knew her – and who now literally heard the ticking of her biological clock inside her head, as persistent as tinnitus…And the woman who had lost her own mother just this past autumn; facing her first Mothers Day without mum – missing not only a parent, but a close friend…And the woman whose husband had left her, and their kids, for a newer, more aerodynamic model he had met at work; who felt overwhelmed at times; and unappreciated most of the time…And the young mum with breast cancer, who had only one thought through the service: will I even be here next Mothers Day?...



Jesus asked, “Which of these mothers does God love more than the others?”


[Note: These examples are representative of women who will be familiar to many; they are not intended to be taken as referring to specific individuals.]

2 comments:

  1. That's an interesting way of presenting the audience. You do have a vivid imagination. Nice.

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  2. Amanda8:46 am

    Andy, only just catching up on your blog for the past week, [not that I haven't been on the internet though - blame Jo! :)]. This made me cry, and think.

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