My kids signed three Mother’s Day cards to mail to their Grandma’s, and one of them said, “But we have four Grandma’s” and bless his heart, I knew I was keeping my Mother’s memory alive for him even though she passed away years before he was born. My Mom is not forgotten even by him who never met her; this brought tears to my eyes.
My worst Mother’s Day was the first one without my Mom. Watching others buy Mother’s Day cards and seeing ads selling silver heart necklaces and perfume cuts you deep when your mom is dead. I focused on my Grandma, and that helped but a girl still misses her dead mom on Mother’s Day. That seems too harsh to even type twenty-five years after her death. My Mom’s death was sudden and unexpected and it left me battered as I scrounged through daily life searching for meaning. I’ve had twenty-five years of Mother’s Days without her and I’ve spent them all in different ways, some good and some bad.
Those first years after her death I was just sad, beaten down brutal sad. There were years when I felt angry and cheated, and I wanted to buy my Mom that silver necklace. But no one buys those things for the dead, only flowers, scrapbooks, caskets, and casket-sized acreage in a cemetery.
As a teen, life turned harsh as the daily realities of her absence were constant throughout the day. The laundry had to get done. We had to eat. I had homework that I mostly ignored and then slopped something down on paper and somehow I passed. This interconnectedness between children and their mothers is real to me because I am so interwoven into my kids’ daily life, I feel so integral that I shudder thinking how they would be without me.
Some of the years I would go to the cemetery to bring flowers on Mother’s Day. A very devastating way to spend Mother’s Day. Other years I would ignore Mother’s Day, but that often didn’t work because someone would ask me my plans for Mother’s Day, someone who didn’t know mine was dead. I’d have to explain she’s gone. At times it was easier to pretend I’d better hurry up and make plans rather than say my mother is dead, so no I don’t have plans. In small talk it was never cheery enough to say I would spend it bringing flowers to her grave.
I Became a Mother Myself
My most brutal wonderful Mother’s Day was the day I became a mother myself. I felt the missing presence of my Mom harshly that day. To behold your firstborn child is wondrously joyful, yet it was marred because I could not forget I should have shared her grandchild with her that Mother’s Day. That left a stark gaping hole in my heart that the baby did fill up, but her not being there was an irreplaceable loss. I had always wanted children, so becoming a mother fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine. My firstborn taught me how I would come second, then third, then fourth after his needs. He taught me how to sacrifice as a mother should for her kids. He helped me learn to be a mother, and he taught me well as all newborns do.
I’ve had thirteen Mother’s Days as a mother and I have felt so blessed and honored to sacrifice and traverse daily life with my three boys. I can’t lie and say I don’t wish for more, because I do, I wish for my mother to be at our Mother’s Day brunches, picnics, and parties. I want to buy her beautiful flowers and tell her how much I love her, but I don’t get to do that. I want her to see her grandchildren, see the flowers I picked for her. I want to tell her how wonderful she was when I was a kid and how I learned to sacrifice and be generous by watching her. Those sixteen years with her were partially fraught with the usual mother-child fights, but the take away is I have memories that are so full of happiness and fun, I feel blessed to have had her those slim sixteen years.
Happy Memories for my own kids
I hope I am creating those happy memories for my own kids. Mother’s Day is a reminder for me to take time to play games and listen to my kids daily. Their hugs and kisses shouldn’t be rushed, but lingering and fully reciprocated. I want to cherish their lit up faces over a new toy or over such simple everyday things like ordering their favorite pizza delivery. Simple things like counting how long they can hold their breath under water, simple things like planting seeds in the garden. I must enjoy simple everyday things because I know someday these simple everyday things will be gone and they will have left my house. I will miss their constant questions, their constant talking to me. My house will be quiet, too quiet until they help me fill the silence with my grandchildren’s laughs and screeches and stories.
Don’t let it slip by, revel in your children this Mother’s Day. Cherish your mom in your own way. As I watch my kids’ sports games this weekend, I won’t be sorry I spent Mother’s Day watching games, I will revel it in. Really revel in it because it will be gone in a blink.