Mother’s Day can be a minefield for almost anyone involved in the foster care system.
The trip wires are there – the handmade gifts, the Muffins with Mom, the poignancy of a day that celebrates something people desperately want but can not always achieve.
A handful of dandelions or a picture drawn with a fat crayon and meant to be a sweet gesture can cut deep if they aren’t handled right.
Foster parents can help.
The trick is to remember your role and your primary allegiance, which is to the young people in your care.
Some of them will not want to acknowledge the day at all, or they’ll worry that celebrating one mother figure in their life will make them disloyal to the others, or they’ll be extra sad if they can’t see their birth mom that day.
Others will want their foster mother to step in and eat the muffins, praise the artwork, wear the dandelion chain.
In a lot of ways, Mother’s Day isn’t about the mother, it’s about the children she raised and the way they want to honor her.
But, I also think Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to demonstrate that all the mothers in a child’s life can work together on his or her behalf.
We can foster that spirit of teamwork in big and small ways.
If you know, for instance, that a birth mom loves sunflowers, you could help her kids choose a small bunch and make sure she gets them.
Or, you could ask them if they want to make her a card, or bake her some goodies.
You could ask them the same about grandmothers in their lives, or caregivers they think of as moms.
I think it’s also fine to treat Mother’s Day like any other Sunday, if that’s what seems best for the kids.
When Julia Ward Howe first wrote her Mother’s Day proclamation back in 1870 she said, “Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears!” Hers was a call to action for all mothers to unite in pursuit of peace.
I think that’s exactly how we should celebrate the day.
Happy Mother’s Day to all!