For Mother’s Day

How Do We Celebrate Our Mothers?

A real-world poem for Mother’s Day

How do we celebrate our mothers  —
The ones who are here and the ones who aren’t?
The ones who gave their lives for us,

And the ones who walked away.

The ones who lovingly directed our lives as if we were art projects,
And the ones who never knew how to welcome us into the world.

How do we celebrate our mothers  —
The ones who were ready for anything we could bring,
And the ones who were overwhelmed and exhausted by us.
The ones who held themselves liable for every possible outcome in our lives,

And the ones who threw us into the deep end of the pool.

The ones who chose our fathers wisely, carefully,
And the ones who were children themselves, desperate for love, or unable to choose anything at all.

How do we celebrate our mothers  —
Do we live out their dreams for themselves and for us?
Or do we fight against their hopes and fears and become the opposite child?
Do we follow their path and parent in their way, in our way, or not at all?
Do we care for our mothers as they age, and mother them as they die?
Or do we lose them before we can care for them, or before we know who they — and we — are?

How do we celebrate our mothers?
The complex ones and the simple ones,
The peaceful ones and the raging ones,
The ones who created stability,
And the ones who shook the ground under our feet.

How do we celebrate our mothers?

~Karla McLaren


8 Responses

  1. Galina
    | Reply

    I am deeply moved by the poem, and by sadness that I do not have the strength to mother my mother any longer. I did it from my childhood, and cannot do it now when she is aging and needs it more, but my resource of mothering my mother has been exhausted.

    • Karla
      | Reply

      Welcome Galina,

      Yep. I come from a large family, and most of my siblings were worn out when time came to mother our mother. I had the energy still, and it was good that there were so many of us! For smaller families, this isn’t always the case.

      Thank you for doing what you did while you could!

  2. Renee
    | Reply

    I know this was posted in 2016. Recent events brought me back to re-reading The Language of Emotions, which led me to this blog. So I’m just now reading most of your posts while trying to get through an apathy and anxious phase.

    All the posts I’ve read so far are great and actually make me feel smart (so thank you). They give me a nice sense of clarity.

    This Mother’s Day poem, however, wow. A part of it speaks to a part of me that wants to grieve. I can’t grieve just yet though. I’m not ready and my home environment is a bit toxic and I don’t exactly have a lot of privacy.

    Just thank you for writing this because it awakened something in me that can’t be resolved right away but sure appreciates the inkling of awareness it’s gotten.

  3. Donna Bivens
    | Reply

    This is so beautiful and so true! Thank you.

    • Karla McLaren
      | Reply

      Thank you Donna.

  4. Sukh Mishraa
    | Reply

    Loved the poem, touched so deeply, could see bits of myself and my mom in it

    • Karla McLaren
      | Reply

      Thank you Sukh.

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