Celebrating Mary on Mother's Day by Karen
|One year we took Chris' mom to a|
Polish Dance Banquet where they got to
waste away the afternoon doing the Polka.
Prior to missions we celebrated Mother's Day over the course of the weekend so that we could spend time with Chris' mom as well as mine. Some years we got really dressed up and attended fancy functions, like the annual Mother's Day Symphonic Brunch at the Detroit Institute of Arts; other years we'd relax at my parents' house playing yard games and enjoying cold lemonade on their deck.
|Katelyn is in the back row, in the middle.|
Anna is toward the front on the far right side.
As we became more active in the Catholic community, we began participating in May Crowning celebrations to honor Our Blessed Mother.
During these ceremonies we'd pray the rosary, sing Marian hymns, ask for Mary's intercession regarding our prayer petitions, and present Her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
This is a photo of our girls at the Knights of Columbus' May Crowning event in 2012.
Since entering missions our Mother's Day celebrations have reflected the traditions of the respective cultures in which we've lived, and this year was no exception.
Each Sunday we do street ministry in the neighboring town of Aguadilla. The corner where we meet tends to attract the local drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes. On the Sunday prior to Mother's Day, as we were leaving, one of the women reluctantly asked, "You're not coming next week are you since it's Mother's Day?" Without giving it a second thought I replied, "Of course we're coming. There's nobody here in Puerto Rico that I'd rather spend Mother's Day with other than my kids and all of you!" Despite the social distancing mandates, she leaned forward and gave me a great big hug.
So, on Mother's Day, after enjoying the wonderful heart-shaped pancake breakfast that my kids made for me...
...we headed to our favorite corner to wish the mothers there a very happy Mother's Day.
Given our late arrival we decided to begin by serving food. This was unusual because we always begin by singing worship songs, reading scripture, and facilitating a discussion.
|Katelyn read her scripture passage and|
shared a bit about the love of a mother,
even though only a handful of guys
were paying her any attention.
When I sat down next to them I overheard each one bragging about how her kids had sent her the fancy clothes, shoes and perfume that she was wearing. These women also spoke about loving phone calls that they had received earlier in the day and of other gifts that arrived at their homes: flowers, cards, chocolates. Recalling that most of them haven't spoken to their adult kids in years I was confused. One of the men nearby rolled his eyes and explained that it's the same thing every year: leading up to Mother's Day these street walkers work extra hard to get the money they need to buy themselves new outfits so that they can spend Mother's Day spinning tales which tell of the things they each wish their estranged, adult kids would have done for them. "They're all lying and they all know it, but somehow it makes them feel better." he said.
Although this was all really sad and disappointing, it helped our kids to better understand the complicated nature of some parent/child relationships and why some people prefer not to spend time with their mothers on Mother's Day.
Next up on the docket was giving each of the mothers one of the wooden crosses that members of Team Carmody had sent us. Trying to be strategic, we set out all the crosses so that they could see the gifts that they were going to receive. As planned, this got their attention. I spoke to all of them about how difficult it is to be a great mother. There are so many challenges and pitfalls, and since children don't come with instruction manuals it can be albeit impossible to know what to do when the going gets tough. I reminded them that none of us are perfect mothers, and that none of our mothers have been perfect because we're all fallen, sinful creatures.
|Ivan is the man on the left with the navy blue shirt on.|
As described below, he bought me a present for Mother's Day.
I thank God for my incredible mom.
I thank God for entrusting Chris and me with our four precious children
and for helping me to be the best mom that I can be.
I thank God for giving us the opportunity to share the message of
Mary's love for each one of us on this very special Mother's Day.
And I thank you for journeying with us in this life of missions!
God bless you, Karen