I hope you’re doing swimmingly. I’m writing my blog post to you today in honor of Mother’s Day. I remember you telling me that you took me home from the hospital on Mother’s Day and that I was the best Mother’s Day present you ever received. That may be true in part because every year I got so excited about my birthday that I almost forgot Mother’s Day altogether. So, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I was at least the best Mother’s Day present you got from me.
Since you died, though, a holiday that was once impossible for me to remember has become impossible for me to forget. How did I not notice all of the ads before? All of the mother’s day cards in the isles of every grocery store and supermarket? The jewelry, the chocolates, the flowers? Most of the time, they serve as a sad reminder of what I don’t have: you. Sometimes, though, all of the urgent reminders make me feel like I’m forgetting something. Do I need to pick up something at the supermarket? Do you need that new candle or that charm bracelet? Maybe advertizing is just as powerful as everyone says it is, and companies are out to exploit family relationships for profit. Maybe in part, it’s just that my heart won’t let me forget a right of passage to which I am entitled. Every woman deserves to have an adult relationship with her mother. We will never have that, will we?
I’m not really sure what I would have gotten you for Mother’s Day this year because I don’t know what our relationship would be like. Would I have taken it for granted? Picked up the first thing I saw at the superstore? Or would I have put a lot of thought into it and planned two months in advance to get you something super special? For that matter, I don’t know what you would have done for my birthday; you, who always had my back and made every occasion, large or small, a cause for celebration. When it comes right down to it, I don’t even really know who I would be if you were still here or who we would be to each other.
I’m pretty sure one thing that would not have changed is our love; I still feel it as if that love were alive, as if it had its own pulse and breathed the same air I’m breathing now. For that, I’m thankful that you are my mother. Many girls go a lifetime without ever experiencing that kind of love. Without ever intentionally meaning to, you taught me how to love, and how to lose, and how to cry, and how to smile.
I would like to say that I am going to try to appreciate that aspect of our relationship this Mother’s Day, to focus on all of the wonderful gifts that you gave me. I would like to say that I would find some silver lining in this holiday that always gets me down but to say that would be a lie. The fact is, it always gets me down and the best I can usually hope for is some small distraction from what I am feeling and maybe some small way to honor you. Maybe some banana or butter pecan ice cream, or watching one of your favorite movies or looking at some of our favorite pictures. That is the best fate of Mother’s Day for the motherless.
I’m not sure if you quite understand this since you only had one Mother’s Day without your own mom. Still, I know that you would be here if you could, and maybe in that way, your fate is crueler than mine: to watch your children crying and to be powerless to stop it. If you are reading this, though, please don’t think that you left me without any comforts or ways to cope. You taught me to face my demons in life with courage, dignity, and a sense of humor. So, this week I say to you and to all mothers and children who are suffering the cruel fate of separation this Mother’s Day: bring it on. Bring on the ice cream and the tears and the sad movie marathons and the funny memories and whatever makes the pain just a little more bearable. Because ultimately, we are fierce, and we’re not alone, and maybe we shouldn’t have to handle this pain, but we we damn well can.
And lastly to you mom, I will simply say, I love you. Always have. Always will.