Mother’s Day rolls around again Sunday and it’s always such a sweet holiday – but for those of us who have lost our moms, it holds a hint of melancholy as well.
The day brings a fountain of fond loving memories from my early childhood. It reminds me of the sweet days of youth spent with my beloved mother, Maureen O’Reilly, before her passing one week before my 11th birthday.
It also reminds me of the joy and love shared during my years acting on the TV series “Touched by an Angel” and after with my beloved adopted mother Della Reese who, as many of you know, passed away just 18 months ago.
Loving both of these women filled my heart and enriched my life and I will always be grateful that we had time together because their love shaped the woman that I am today.
I sometimes wish heaven had visiting hours. I’d be able to pop over there to see them both with two big bunches of flowers, one for each of them.
I don’t know what the afterlife will look like but I love to imagine the two of them sitting in a garden laughing and telling stories to each other in heaven. The thought of that makes my heart glow.
As I sit here now, with my cup of tea next to me, I find myself thinking about mothering, being a mother and all that it means to give of oneself so selflessly.
While I no longer have a mom, I am a mom. I am blessed with the most beautiful daughter, Reilly, who soon will turn 23. She is such a gift of love in my life and a source of so much joy.
I also have two fine stepsons, James and Cameron, who I have had the privilege to co-parent since they were little boys and I have watched them grow into fine young men. I love all my children and I am proud of each of them.
Throughout the years, my mothering has changed as children have grown to adulthood – and as their need for me has changed too.
It can be hard for moms when our role as a mother changes. It can be painful to have your children grow up and not need you in the same ways anymore. But rather than focus on what is lost I prefer to see what is gained and am grateful for all of it.
I am learning to adapt, letting go a little and being grateful when Sundays roll around and everyone gathers around the table under the tree for a family lunch together. Lively conversation between healthy adult children, hearing all about their hopes and dreams. Children grow up and leave because that’s what they are supposed to do.
I am also learning to be a better mother to myself. To practice self-care and self-nurturing in new ways. Remembering what they always say on a flight before you travel, if needed take your oxygen first, because that way you can be of better help to your family.
So I have a message to moms as Mother’s Day approaches.
Learn to be a better mother to yourself. We do so much for so many. Take a little bit of time for yourself because you are worth it!
Learn to honor well your selfless heart as it finds its way into deeper rest, into deeper peace and into deeper dreams. As our children grow, wings spread wide and the world is better for it, and we too get a new season of adventure and purpose – not only as mothers, but as friends, mentors, bold advocates and carriers of change for the good.
Let’s never stop being the motherly example and comfort our children need. But let’s also not forget to be children ourselves, daring to see the world for the endless blessings, beauty, adventure and love that it has to offer.