The Longing Arms
filled now and spilling
when arms hold
and hush the
long anticipated one-
sweet love requited.
Did I know
how empty they were-
my arms, heart-
You laughed at the emptiness
and swallowed it whole.
…of the wind
she is, a soft kiss
the eyes and face of those with
thin, motherless arms.
I wrote the above poem* a few years ago as I recalled my own experience of becoming a mother. The poem concludes with a thought about the many children who have no one to hold their “thin, motherless arms.”
Mother’s Day is a complicated day: joyful for some, painful for others. Perhaps you’re wading in the depths of longing if you desire motherhood and it hasn’t happened. Perhaps you are grieving the difficulty of a relationship with your own mother, or your lack of a mother or mother-figure in your life.
Maybe you are in a place of serving as a mother-figure to others. Perhaps “Mothering Day”, as others have suggested, is a more apt term for some who are not biological mothers, yet still serve a mothering role.
Perhaps you are experiencing the miracles and joys of motherhood, even in the midst of challenges. Or it could be you are savoring the ups and downs of the complexity of motherhood, and unexpected circumstances in regard to your children, and you, and realigning your expectations and dreams as you move through the stages of life.
No matter what your expectations of motherhood, your relationship with your mother, or if you are a mother-figure to others, we all have a mother. We were born. We are here and there was, at the minimum, a biological mother. God wanted you here, and you are here in this world.
Mothers are not exempt from making mistakes or imperfection. Mothers are human, after all. Many mothers work hard, sacrificially, often without recognition or compensation for their work of mothering. Mothers give, and then give some more. A mother is there, and if she can’t be there, she wants to be there.
Mothers are nurturing, but are some of the strongest people you will meet. Mothers have tough skin. They have tender skin. A mother possesses the perfect blend of strength and softness. She may cry bitterly, but she will laugh with a depth only another mother can know. Pain may be deep, but so is joy.
Mothers are stars who carry the world. She is sunlight and moonlight, and the gentleness of dusk and dawn.
A mother is sunlight and moonlight, and the gentleness of dusk and dawn.
May you know that you belong, and have a beautiful purpose, no matter if you were motherless as a child or are childless as a woman.
May your Mother’s Day be what you need it to be, and if it isn’t, may you know that you are loved and seen by the One who made you.
*This poem is in a form called the Shadorma, with the following syllabic structure in each stanza: 3-5-3-3-7-5.