Every Rose has its ThornMay 13, 2007
One Mother’s Day when we were living abroad, a couple of men from Elders’ Quorum were asked to distribute flowers to all of the women in the congregation after sacrament meeting. They were beautiful long-stemmed roses. As everyone left the chapel, they stood at the exit and snapped the heads off each of the roses and handed each woman a tiny bud. The Americans (including myself) were horrified. Why ruin such a lovely flower? And what are you going to do with only the head of a rose?
Well, that was me. Half a rose. For over ten years I was a childless married woman, and if anyplace could make you feel like half a rose on Mother’s day, it’s at Church.
Now look, I know this is nobody’s fault. I’ve only once been in a ward where the Mother’s Day celebration or gift did not include all women (and not just mothers). The sacrament speakers are usually kind enough to talk around “all kinds of mothers.” But let’s face it, you’re either a mother or you’re not. Close does not count. And Church — well, that’s exactly the place where every Sunday a childless woman can be reminded that she’s missing out on the one of the key purposes and main joys of our existence, our progeny.
At first I tolerated the holiday. I nicely smiled at the primary kids signing “Mother I Love You” in sacrament meeting. After a while, it became a Sunday when I would be conveniently absent. The whole month was full of dread for me — all of the prep, the anticipation. Heck, I should have taken the whole month off.
So now, I’m a mother. I’m ecstatic, really I am. Finally inducted into the club. I should get it now… but I don’t. I still have this lingering feeling of dread, like someone is going to finger me as an impostor. It’s not that I don’t consider myself a mother, I just don’t count myself as one of them yet. I don’t relate. Maybe my struggle was so long, I’m forever doomed to hate the holiday. Maybe I’m not giving into my joy. Maybe I developed some wariness that will never go away.
Whatever it is, this half a rose is skipping church this Sunday.