“I miss my mom,” was all I could think on the plane from Montreal to Vancouver. It’s not Mother’s Day and I’ve never been sentimental, but watching a French mom soothe her toddler to sleep made me miss my own mother.
The dad had been holding the toddler when we boarded the flight, but as soon as we sat down the girl started wailing and then screaming. The mom was holding their other toddler — twin girls, about a year old — who wasn’t crying. They switched babies when the dad’s toddler started weeping and wailing…and simply being in her mother’s arms soothed the child, calmed her spirits, and lulled her to sleep.
That’s when I myself wanted to weep. “I wish I had a mother like that,” I thought. “I miss my mom, but she never soothed or loved me like that. What would it be like to be smothered with a mother’s love?”
When I gathered sympathy gift ideas for someone who lost a mom, I wasn’t thinking about this kind of mother. I was thinking about my own mom. She loves me and has many good qualities, but she’s also schizophrenic. She’s been mentally and emotionally unhealthy my whole life, yet watching the mother and child on the airplane made me miss my mom so much.
What do you do when you miss your mom? How do you cope with feelings of loss, sadness and unhappiness — and it’s not even Mother’s Day? I have no answers, but I know how it feels to miss a mother’s love.
When You Miss Your Mom
There are no perfect-mother daughter relationships, but that doesn’t stop you from missing your mom! In fact, not having a good relationship with your mother can actually make you miss your mom more. How so? Because you have an ideal version — a yearning or even a craving — of who or what you wish your mother was. Your mom isn’t the mother you yearn for, which makes you miss her all the more.
Sometimes we don’t miss the moms we actually had. We miss the mothers we wish we had. And that’s the feeling that overwhelmed me as I watched the mother soothe her toddler to sleep on the flight from Montreal to Vancouver.
1. Let yourself be sad — and remember this
In When You Get Homesick – Echoes of the Past I describe how homesick and sad I felt during my stay in Montreal and Quebec City. I fought my feelings for a few days, then succumbed. I decided to let myself feel sad and homesick. I let my melancholy feelings sweep through me, trusting God to bring me through the valley.
I woke up on the other side of my homesickness on my second last day in Quebec City. It felt great to come alive again! And on the plane to Vancouver — while watching the French mother soothe her crying toddler to sleep — I remembered. “Je me souviens” is the official motto of Quebec and the license plate inscription. “I remember.” On the airplane home I remembered that sometimes I feel sad, homesick, and even like I’m missing the mother and home I never had. But no matter how bad and sad I feel, I remember that this, too, will pass.
If you’re walking through a valley of sadness and loneliness, remember that this too will pass. Turn your face to God your Father, and imagine Him returning your gaze. Let yourself feel like you’re missing your mom more than you can bear…and remember that this, too, will pass. If you recently lost your mother, you may find How to Deal With Guilt After Your Mom Dies helpful.
2. Reflect on the mom you miss…and the mother you wish you had
The French mom on the plane from Montreal to Vancouver literally covered her toddler with love. I’ve never seen — much less experienced — so much love between a mother and child. This mother cradled her daughter, rocked her gently back and forth, and pressed her lips to her forehead. She held her child close and whispered in her ear. She ran her fingers through her daughter’s hair and gently over her daughter’s eyes. She took her daughter’s shoes off and used her little toddler sweater as a pillow. She gently covered her child’s head and eyes with a light blanket…and she didn’t take her eyes off her daughter for more than a few minutes.
This mother didn’t get up, eat, drink or hardly move for the whole five hour flight. Her arms must have been getting tired, her bottom numb, her legs sore from sitting almost motionless for so long. “That is a mother’s love,” I thought. “That’s what I miss about having a mom. That’s the mother I wish I had.”
What about you — why are you missing your mom today? Do you remember the feeling of deep love and safety in your mother’s arms? Or maybe you’re a daughter who grew up wondering what to do when nothing is good enough for your mother. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you, too, grew up with an emotionally distant mom and long for the French mother on the airplane.
3. Realize the truth about healing when you miss your mother
Maybe you’ve been missing the mother you wish you had your whole life, like me. Or maybe this feeling of loneliness and sadness is new, perhaps because your mom recently died or move away. Maybe you moved to a new city or country, and are homesick for your mother’s hugs, company, food and even her smothering bossiness.
No matter how or why you miss your mom, it’s crucial to come through the sadness. You need to get to the other side of your “I miss my mom” homesickness, or you’ll get stuck in grief and pain. But how do you get over the sadness of missing your mother? The hard truth is you can’t do it alone. You just don’t have the strength, energy, resources or even the motivation to heal your heart and spirit alone. There is no way you can get over the grief of missing your mom alone, because the wound is just too deep.
4. Sink into the love of your Father
While watching the French mother on the airplane from Montreal to Vancouver, I stopped wondering what it’d be like to be her child. I started imagining God my Father loving me the way that mother so deeply, obviously, totally and wholly loves her daughter. I remembered a Scripture verse that compared God’s love for us — His adopted children through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — to a mom’s love for her child. “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” – Isaiah 49:15 (NIV).
No matter how loving, sacrificial, healthy or good a mother is, she will always fail her child. Moms are human, which means they’ll anger, frustrate or disappoint their children (or we’ll let them down, causing us to learn how to deal with a mother’s disappointment!). Mothers make mistakes, forget important appointments, say the wrong thing, let their egos and desires get in the way of making good parenting decisions. And moms get old, which means they get sick and die.
There are no easy tips or ways to cope with the pain of missing your mom. But there is a love that is greater, stronger and more powerful than the love of a parent. And that love will never disappoint, fade away, or die. When I feel the ache of missing my mom — the mother I wish I had — I sink into God’s love. I invite the Holy Spirit’s power and strength, which is eternal and always available, to fill my own spirit and mind. I remember the obedience and love of Jesus Christ. And I feel joy and freedom because of His presence and love.
Does the love of God affect your heart and spirit? Let the pain of missing your mom drive you to your knees and bring you closer to Jesus. Maybe you believe in God but wish your faith in Christ was stronger. This is the perfect time to learn what it means to have a relationship with God, to experience the power and peace of the Holy Spirit, and to truly feel the joy and love of Jesus.
Your big and little comments are welcome below.
With His love,
P.S. Are you missing your mom more than you thought possible? Read 4 Meaningful Ways to Hold on to Hope When You’re Lonely.
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