What Mother's Day Means to Me: 7 Stories That'll Make Your Heart Swell

Our editors share what Mother’s Day means to them at different stages in their lives—after becoming parents, surviving heartache and coping with loss. Warning: these stories will hit you in the feels

Whether your mum is your best friend or you’re celebrating your very first Mother’s Day as an actual mom, there’s a good chance the day means something to you (or maybe you can’t stand gender normative holidays—that’s cool too!). We tapped FLARE and Hello! Canada staffers at different points in their lives, from a first-time mom to some who have lost a parent, to find out what the holiday means to them. Here, the meaning of Mother’s Day, in all its various glories—and sorrows.

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Lindsay's story.
Lindsay, second from left, with her mom (centre) and sisters. (Photo: Jess Craven/Daring Wanderer)

“Mother’s Day is a wholly deserved holiday in our household. My mom has gone through a lot in the last few years. Five years ago we lost my dad and then my grandfather (her dad) within the span of two days. When we were going through that loss, she always put her own grief aside to be present for my sisters and I, and we were able to climb our way forward together. Needless to say, that kind of trauma leaves a lasting mark but I’ve never had less than 100 percent support from my mom. She’s always managed so much: working as a teacher, she would get us ready for school in the mornings, making lunches and dinners and, between her and my dad, getting my sisters and I to our soccer games and dance classes. I think about it now and it makes my head spin. She would—and will—do anything in her means to make sure we are happy and fulfilled. She is endlessly generous with her resources and puts only good things out in to the universe. She is silly and kind and dedicated to her family. I know a lot of people think the moon of their mother but my mom deserves the stars, too.” —Lindsay Murrell, photo editor

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Maureen's story.
“The one and only time I employ the #blessed hashtag in complete sincerity is in relation to my mom. She had me when she was 40, a surprise baby when her other kids were already in their teens. When I was 10, my dad died, and she was left to raise me on her own while figuring out how to get back into the workforce and manage a bunch of car/house/money stuff that my dad had always taken care of. Needless to say, we are insanely close—with zero of the angst that can complicate mother-daughter dynamics—and when I eventually moved away for university, it was legit one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. These days, I’m almost 40 and my mom just turned 79 (this photo is from her birthday). My world has gotten bigger while, as with many older people living with health complications, hers has gotten smaller. But this has only made me more insanely grateful for the time we’re able to spend together. This Mother’s Day, I’m hosting a family brunch for 15. It’ll be noisy and a lot of work and I’ll eat way too many refined carbs—and I’ll feel utterly #blessed to be able to do so.” —Maureen Halushak, deputy editor

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Ava's story.

“My mom, who knows me better than anyone else, wouldn’t be surprised to hear me say that I really have no sentimental attachment to Mother’s Day. (For the record, I feel the same way about Father’s Day, both before and since my dad passed away). My mom is one of my favourite people to spend time with. We go away together almost every year, usually around her birthday, and there’s nothing I love more than sipping wine with her at dinner and pressing her for stories about her life and seeking her input on mine. She’s the first person I call with good news, bad news, any news, and she knows when I need a serious dose of real talk or to just say nothing and wrap me up in a big, protective hug. My friends unanimously agree that my mom is simply the best. I think my aversion to Mother’s Day comes from the fact that I don’t need a Hallmark card or a prix fixe brunch to tell me how to celebrate my beautiful mom. The problem is, my dear mother pretty much eats all that stuff up. So for her sake, this year, like every other, I’ll make a brunch reservation for us and my brothers at her favourite crowded restaurant and I will give her the cheesiest Mother’s Day card I can find and smile as she basks in all of the love on her special day.” —Ava Baccari, staff writer

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Philina's story.

“If I’m being honest, the thought of becoming a mom always sounded tiring/terrifying/boring to me. Pregnancy hormones? Labour pains? Mommy groups? Hard pass. It was a nice idea in theory, but whenever the topic of babies came up our decision was always to cautiously wait things out before having a serious convo… about when we should have a serious convo about it. Life was crazy enough already, how could we balance that with having a baby? Could I handle being away from work for a year? Is our giant dog ready for a human sibling? Would we be awesome parents? Inevitably we always came back to the conclusion that our little family had more than enough love to share and we had to trust that we could handle whatever came our way. Since making the decision to grow our family there have been emotional detours (an early-term loss and having to Google ‘miscarriage’ way too many times), empowering triumphs (an all-natural labour with my husband and midwives in the delivery room), and some serious WTF moments (when a stranger commented on how cute my daughter was and then asking if I was the nanny). Yes there are moments when its tiring/terrifying/boring, but has/is/will be THE ABSOLUTE BEST and I wouldn’t change our journey for the world.” —Philina Chan, art director

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Jenn's story.
Jenn, centre, with her mother-in-law Ingrid (left) and sister-in-law Ashley (right)

“My mom would be the first person to say Mother’s Day is BS and to tell me not to spend my money on silly gifts. Unfussy—and unf*ckwithable—to a fault, my mom hated being the centre of attention but that didn’t mean I didn’t get her a card and a box of her drugstore chocolates of choice, Black Magic of course, every year, despite her protests. She was tough as hell and taught me to be the same (I do my best to do her proud). We lost her in 2015 after a battle with cancer, a disease she had already whooped a couple of years earlier, and while holidays like Mother’s Day can be tough, they also make me incredibly appreciative of the other strong women in my life that I’m lucky to love and admire. My mother-in-law Ingrid and sister-in-law Ashley come to mind. They are kind, intelligent, thoughtful, graceful and selfless women and I’m in awe that I got lucky enough to have not only an amazing mother, but a surrogate mom and sister. So Mother’s Day means that even though I miss my mom, and will always miss her, I feel endlessly, infinitely grateful for the women in my life that have stepped in as confidantes, role models and, when I need it most, friends.” —Jennifer Berry, staff writer

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Alanna's story.
“Strength, selflessness, sacrifice and a spirited sense of adventure. These are the things I think about on Mother’s Day because they’re the qualities that define my Mother Hen. (It’s what my sister and I have always called her, and she still calls us The Chicks.) She taught me the value of kindness and hard work, and I’ve watched her live those values every day. While juggling multiple jobs as a nurse, she raised my sister and me. Never complained about late nights or early mornings even when she was on the graveyard shift—and somehow always had breakfast on the table for us and lunches packed for school. Early in her career she worked with children with leukemia, and I’m still in awe when I think back to how she managed to give her all on the job and then come home and make us feel just as cared for and loved. Recently, my sister and I watched her care so faithfully for my stepdad in his final stages of life, and we’ve seen her persevere through a tough two years and grow even stronger. People describe her as an angel, and I really think it’s true. But she’s also a superhero in my eyes, too. Anyone who has ever been a caregiver is one.” —Alanna Evans, senior editor 

We asked our staffers to share what the meaning of Mother's Day is for them; this is Laura's story.

“I’ll admit it: I often forget about Mother’s Day. My mom, who I’m extremely close with, has to remind me every year that her special day is approaching, and jokingly probes what I’m going to buy her. But the day isn’t about gifts—for her or me. Mother’s Day is special for us because it’s a reminder that we have each other. Over the last six years, there’s been a lot of change in our lives: my mom overcame cancer; my parents separated; I moved in with my partner. The bond my mom and I share has been the only constant throughout all of life’s transformations. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My mom is hilarious, loving and radiates positive energy. Simply put, she’s the best. And even though I need her to remind me when Mother’s Day is, I don’t need her to remind me how lucky I am to be her daughter.” —Laura Hensley, staff writer

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