Mother’s Day and Honoring Your Mother – A Tricky Combo At Times.

Mother’s Day can be a tricky day for some.

Many have recounted to me the range of emotions that can come up while looking for an appropriate Mother’s Day card in the drug store. There are literally hundreds of cards full of adulation, admiration, love, and respect for mothers. Yet few seem to fully capture the more complex relationship that many of us have with our mothers.

As Rabbi Joseph Telushikin points out in “Jewish Literacy,” the Bible has no hesitation in telling us to love others. There are commandments to love thy neighbor, love the stranger and even to love God. Yet interestingly enough, there is no commandment to love one’s mother or one’s father.

Some suggest that in a relationship as basic and intimate as that between parents and children, love cannot be commanded. It’s either present or its not. The nature of the relationship between children and parents is complicated on any level and even more complex on a Freudian level. There are times when we may feel love and gratitude towards our parents and yet there may times because of circumstances or even developmentally (teenagers!), where love may be impossible to be summoned or felt.

Still, we find ourselves commanded to “honor” and “respect” our mothers and fathers for the things which they did for us. For those who find it difficult on this Mother’s Day to join in the love fest of Mother’s on Facebook of happy posts and pictures, I offer this. You’re not alone in feeling ambiguous feelings on this Mother’s Day. You’re not the only one contemplating how your relationship with your mother could be different or less complicated. You’re not the only one feeling some level of guilt today even as you show “honor” and “respect” to your mothers.

The story is told of three elderly Jewish mothers sitting together in Miami Beach. The first one begins talking about her son and how devoted he is to her. She says, “My son is so devoted to me that last year for my birthday, he gave me an all expense paid cruise around the world!” The second mother says, “That’s nothing. My son is more devoted. Last year he catered a large affair for me and flew all my friends down from New York!” The third woman says, “That’s nothing. My son is much more devoted. He goes to his psychologist three times a week. He pays $180 an hour and told me that he speaks the whole time about ME!”

Happy Mother’s Day.

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