The Day After Mother's Day – Honoring the 'Invisible Mothers'

I loved seeing so many photos friends posted of their mothers, often from a bye-gone era, and the love and kindness expressed to moms on Mother’s Day, which takes so many forms, from breakfast in bed to letters of gratitude for birth mothers from adoptive families. It may have become a high-pressure, materialistic holiday, but if there is a day that gets people to say and act on ‘I love you’ to the person who probably loves them more unspeakably great than any other – so be it.  In its essence, Mother’s Day cherishes boundless goodness.

As I browsed through social media today (after a sort of hiatus for Mother’s Day), two posts struck me:

This photo, allegedly of a little Iraqi girl laying in the arms of the chalk mother she drew on the ground, the mother she has never met, but loves deeply:

And this article by Vargha Taefi, called The Anguish of Separation, a title which conveys the emotion this loving son feels as his mother is locked away in a tiny, dark,  damp Iranian prison, having already served five years of a baseless 20-year sentence. He knows her health is severely deteriorating, but her spirits hang on to something deeper and stronger. This keeps her going and it keeps him going amidst false charges and glaring injustice.  His emotions straddle the big picture — a regime’s repressive policies toward a minority group — along with the molecular, conveying personal anxieties felt by children everywhere:

For a very long time my nightmare has not been of the past but of slowly losing memories of my mother.

I reassure myself that in the absence of my mother, at least her loving company can be bestowed on inmates who do not have their own mothers or sisters with them.

So, on this day-after Mother’s Day, here’s to the motherless children and the children who can’t see their mothers because so many in power still have it so wrong. Here’s also to so many mothers who are returning to low-wage jobs that barely feed their children, who can’t afford childcare facilities they feel right about, who might be fleeing violence, and so many countless other cruelties that keep too many on the margins or far away from their beloved children.

By acknowledging these realities, I don’t believe I am taking away from the joy that I felt with my own mother and my children on Mother’s Day. In fact, I feel as if I honor my blessings by the act of remembering the invisible mothers.  If I can contribute any deeds, words or finances on behalf of any of these mothers anywhere, I hope this helps bring them toward visibility, toward the light, and a hearty hug from a child that loves them deeply.



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