We pause this coming weekend to celebrate motherhood — its many joys, given and received; its recognition as a source of unconditional love. A mother is devoted to the healthy growth of a child, seeing the possibilities for his or her future. Fittingly paired with this holiday is springtime, when nature nourishes every seed, until it sprouts and grows to its full potential.
But just as nature can play with the progress of spring’s brood, so can time and environment affect a mother’s ability to coax the best from her offspring. There is a balance to strike between recognizing a child’s independence and monitoring outside influences fraught with peril. Mothers have an innate fear of failure, as does any caregiver. Society places a great burden on perfect parenting, and it takes courage to recognize pitfalls and face them head on.
Nature will challenge nurture. There are childhood diseases that cannot be controlled by a mother’s love; there are illnesses too powerful for the fragile humanity of a parent.
No matter how beloved a child is, sometimes the greater world beckons, and a youngster is unable to resist. A mother’s love may need reinforcement.
Mothers — or fathers, or any other loving adult — must be given the gift of realization that going it alone is not always necessary. In times of distress, wise parenting gravitates to resources that guide parent and child through the storm.
Newtown is home to the Newtown Prevention Council and Parent Connection, offering education and means of healing when the embrace loved ones choose is that of substance abuse. Newtown’s Center for Support and Wellness encourages families affected by behavioral issues or wellness concerns to find help through proper channels. In nearby Ridgefield, the National Alliance on Mental Illness provides support to families affected by mental illness.
St Rose of Lima Church hosts a Mom’s Prayer Group, and other religious institutions are able to provide assistance in matters of the soul and body — ways to heal when illness or addiction are challenging a mother’s love, a family’s love, a community’s love.
Newtown is rich with individuals and agencies able to help families; whether a family of mother and child, or a family of mothers and children; or a family of loving adults mothering young people; there is someone to lean on when motherlike love is challenged.
Wind, hail, and rainstorms can bend young plants — or beat them to the earth; children are at risk of harmful elements that they encounter. While a mother is ever vigilant, ever trusting, there is no shame in reaching out to the village to raise the child.
Within the breast of a mother, lies the heart. We honor on Mother’s Day that unstoppable beat of love, and we honor those who are there to support us when love needs a boost.
Unconditional love is never perfect. Asking for help is an act of true love.
When what is needed is given and received, then that is a happy Mother’s Day and every day.