Honoring a Special Kind Of Mother on Mother’s Day
Date:  05-09-2014

Hallmark doesn’t make a Mother’s Day card for mothers of prisoners
Traditionally the second Sunday of every May is set aside to honor our mothers.

Much has been written about mothers who are prisoners, and children who have a mother in prison. But not much has been written about a special kind of mother, the woman who has a son or daughter that is incarcerated.

Not for her is homage paid with flowers, or dinner at a fancy restaurant. For the mother who has a child behind bars, the family gathering is sadly incomplete. Although she may smile and laugh while her other children gather before her, her heart is heavy and her thoughts are with the one who can’t be home to share this special day.

A child can be a grown adult but, no matter what age a son or daughter may be, they will always be a child to a parent.

Mothers are supposed to love their child unconditionally, and most do, even if one of them has committed a crime. A mother doesn’t stop loving a child who is vilified by the press and the public. She may be angry at her child for breaking the law, and may be angry at herself for “not being a better mother.” She may be ashamed of her child for the predicament he or she finds themselves in. She might blame herself but she never stops loving that child. Most people don’t realize the special burden carried by a mother who has a child behind bars. She suffers in silence every day, but on Mother’s Day when she remembers holding her tiny baby in her arms, and the baby’s world being fresh with hope for a bright future, she may emit a sigh of sorrow and regret for the time together that is lost. She will wait by the phone hoping her child will be able to call her, or will reread the letter or prison-made card filled with Mother’s Day wishes that she received from her “baby.”

Her child is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows that her child is incarcerated, but most choose to ignore that fact and will never ask how her daughter is doing, or if she got a chance to visit her son recently. Because a person is in prison does not make him or her any less loved. On this Mother’s Day reach out to a mom who has a child behind bars. Don’t pretend the child does not exist. By acknowledging the prisoner you let the mother know that you are supporting her through her ordeal. By asking her to give your love to her child you are letting her know that you care about the both of them, and she is not alone. Better still, write to the prisoner you knew as a child or as an adult, and tell his or her mother. Then, watch her smile.

Someone once said a mother’s favorite child is the one that needs her love the most at that moment. For a mother of a prisoner, that child may be the one that she is sending all her love to now.