Announcement: Spring 2011 Mother’s Day Issue Now Available
This theme inspired SO many submissions that we had to had extra pages and still didn’t quite have room for everything we loved. And, the art is just wonderful.
And, don’t forget, the submission deadline for the Summer issue is April 15th.
Spring 2011 Letter From the Editors
Years ago, as a woman struggling with infertility, I hated going to church on Mother’s Day; the sympathy, praise, everything anyone said felt like a slap in the face.
So, the first year I had a baby, I settled in, thinking, “Finally, I can enjoy Mother’s Day.”
It was then that I came upon the sad realization that Mother’s Day carries baggage for so many Mormon women, those who are single, divorced, childless, estranged from their children– even those who look like they fit the ideal.
There is no way to address the pain and sadness that many women endure every Mother’s Day, but I wonder if it might be alleviated if we expanded the definition of the word, “mothering” to focus on the concept of divine love.
In the scriptures, I see glimpses of the theological concept of mothering. We read passages which provide metaphorical images of God and Jesus giving birth, nursing, and raising up children. Jesus does this when he says in Matthew 23:37, “how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings?” In Isaiah 49:15, God speaks, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” In both of these examples, God and Jesus take acts of mothering: comforting, teaching, and feeding to show their love for us.
As Jesus and God embody motherhood through these metaphors, I think we all do the same in our daily lives. We show our capacity for divine love when we bring a meal to a sister who is ill or when we simply sit with a friend who is struggling. In those tender acts, I believe we are expressing the divine love inside each of us; we are mothering each other.
In this Mother’s Day issue, Aimee and I have worked to find examples that illustrate how mothering is not limited to one type of relationship. We see examples of this in Pam Everson’s “Identification Card, Please” as she and her grandmother struggle with their diminished capacities, and in Sherrie Gavin’s Global Zion piece, “Privilege,” as she talks about her struggles with infertit ily as she travels to a far away country.
We also wanted to show the variety of difficulties women deal with in our attempts to mother. My mom once wrote in a Mother’s Day talk she gave, “The crux of the difficulty of Mother’s Day may be that the ideal mother we sometimes chose to hold up on Mother’s Day is not very helpful to those involved in the gritty mothering business.” We see that grittiness in Tamra Smith’s essay about giving up her baby for adoption called “Birth Mother” and in Kendahl Millecam’s work about healing from her abusive parents in “Emergence.”
And, there is humor in these struggles as Lesli Smith shows in “Opposite Day,” worrying whether the small daily choices she feels ill equipped to make will have unforeseen consequences on her children, or in Kylie Nelson Turley’s proud assertion of herself as a “Mean Mom” (right there with you, sister).
For me, Mother’s Day became easier to bear when I decided that ultimately, what we are celebrating on this holiday is the divine love we have for each other and our meager attempts to show that love through acts of mothering. One medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich, writes in a piece entitled “Revelation of Divine Love,”
To motherhood as properties belong natural love, wisdom and knowledge – and this is God. For though it is true that our bodily bringing forth is very little, low, and simple compared to our spiritual bringing forth, yet it is he who does the mothering in the creatures by whom it is done.
As we learn to express divine love (whether it be through a biological link or a spiritual one) I think we become better able to nurture as our Heavenly Parents do.
Emily Clyde Curtis, Spring 2011