If you are reading this, I already love you. You have chosen to read an article solely for the purpose of hearing what a woman would want you to know. I hope I do this opportunity justice: that you read, understand and consider these thoughts.
This weekend marks an occasion on which ladies everywhere are celebrated. Not all ladies, though - just the mothers. More accurately, it's really only the easily identifiable mothers who are typically honoured.
For example, today I walked into our cafeteria at work. The chef had thoughtfully hung a few large paper flowers from the ceiling. As I paid for my lunch, he exchanged my coin for a rose he had hidden under the counter. I looked around the room to find each mother had been given a rose. At least, the ones who were visibly identified as mothers. You know us by our fluffy exteriors, our kangaroo-pouch tummies, our sagging breasts and the bags under our eyes.
Though grateful of his kind gesture, I wondered just how the rose became symbolic of Mother's Day in the first place. Doesn't the rose already have Valentine's Day? And weddings? And a host of other romantic affairs? I wonder if it's more appropriate to consider this day a little more deserving of bleeding hearts flowers.
I wondered how many bleeding hearts, metaphorically speaking, walked through our cafeteria today. Not just women, but also men who love women with a fierce and passionate love. I wonder how many quietly left today who may have been more deserving than I of the rose I was holding.
The heart bleeding for babies they never got to meet.
The heart whose hands place a single rose on a grave too tiny to hold all the love they had to offer.
The heart who has never lost their temper with a child because they can only dream of having a child with whom to be frustrated.
The mom who only has access to visits with her child.
I also paused to consider the ladies who received roses today, and the relevance of bleeding hearts in their world. The gruesome and labour-intensive process of giving birth: the first omen of the blood, sweat and tears to follow.
Tears shed over broken bones and hearts, lost games and friendships, and terrible teenage moments.
Tears that come with growing pains as moms grieve their child's growth - outgrowing our breast, our laps, and - all too quickly - our homes.
A mother's heart expands and stretches so thin it all but bursts, somehow seeping out of our eyes in salty droplets.
Perhaps the forget-me-not would serve well for Mother's Day, instead.
For the mom who tried so desperately, but lost her child to adoption.
For the mom who chose to place her child for adoption, but remembers with so much love.
For the elderly, who find themselves alone more frequently these days.
For the orphan, who can never go home again.
For the homeless, who wonder if anyone remembers them from better days.
If you are still reading this, please know that I am not suggesting we abolish the time-honoured tradition of Mother's Day. Indeed, please continue to honor the mothers in your life! Could I recommend a few adjustments, though, that would change the whole game?
In church services, sporting events, and other public meetings - consider asking all the ladies to rise. In honor of the mothers they are, the mothers they will be, or the mothers they desire to be. In honor of the mother who gave them life.
Don't wait for the calendar. Honor moms throughout the year! Offer lunch bag ideas at the start of each school year. Have an emergency fund for moms who can't finance the Tooth Fairy. Supply pocket packs of Band-Aids and Kleenex at the start of baseball/hockey season. A tiny aloe plant, symbolic of healing, can be discreetly given to a mom who has experienced loss. Keep a stash of angel items for those who have been brushed by angel wings. Carpool a working mom's child who wouldn't otherwise get to swimming lessons.
Stop viewing motherhood as mandatory. There are many reasons women may choose not to have children: health issues, genetic disorders, finances or plain old personal preference. The ladies who make this choice are brave and confident; please help them celebrate the fullness of life in their chosen path.
This weekend, some women want to feel special. This weekend, some women just want to be a face in the crowd. This weekend, every woman just wants to feel included in some way. On Mother's Day, please publicly celebrate every woman, who has made another woman, a mother. Because we all matter. No one is forgotten.