I know, I know. We should recognize mothers. And fathers. And grandparents. And sweetests (really, who celebrates that day?) But for some, it’s pressure. And obligation. And sometimes, sadness.
This will be my fifth motherless Mother’s Day. Back when my mom was alive, we’d get together for brunch or dinner, I’d get a lovely card from my kids and a gift usually picked out by their dad. Again, not complaining. But when I think of mother’s day, it’s not obligatory cards, gifts and meals that come to mind – it’s the days I was well-mothered and the days I mothered well.
When I think of a mother’s day, I think of the times something “significant” happened in my life – “significant” being a relative term that ran the gamut from a breakup with a boyfriend to a new job to a life-changing issue with a child. I think of how my mom was always there for me – she was a rock star when there was a crisis. She was my go-to person – the one I thought of to call first, whether it was to cry or yell or seek advice. (Honestly, I never really had to ask for advice; she readily offered it whether I wanted it or not.) Regardless of whether she told me to suck it up, encouraged me to look on the bright side, sympathized, discussed my options or helped me find a solution, she was the comfort I usually sought when the going got tough.
I miss that – so much. There are still many times I reach for the phone to call her when something happens, good or bad. She would have been a source of support when my older son put me through hell as a teen. She would have wanted to know who I was dating and would have continually reminded me how I dodged a bullet getting out of my last long-term relationship (I don’t think she ever liked him anyway.) She would have encouraged me on my career path and pushed me to do more writing. She would have called me every day for the past month after my son’s serious accident for updates - she adored my kids. She would have helped me redo my family room that I’ve never gotten around to painting because I don’t trust myself to pick out the colors.
Lots of people feel this way about their moms – I know I’m not the only one. There are people who haven’t had their mom around for years; others have lost them more recently. Though your life adjusts, there’s plenty of instances when you think, “Wow. I wish my mom were here to see this/meet you/help me.”
I was well-mothered. Sure, we had our issues. But now that I'm a mother myself, I know she did the best she could. I know this because she taught me well, and I’m doing the best that I can.
I was well-mothered, and I’m trying to mother well. I’m lucky to have a pretty solid relationship with both of my kids – a few years ago I could not have said that. Now I seem to be their go-to, and I love that. I love that they trust me, and I love that I am sometimes the first person they want to call to talk to, whether it’s about a job, a relationship, a problem or just life in general.
Those are the moments that are my mother’s day. Sure it’s nice to get a card, but only because the powers that be designated a random Sunday in May as a day to celebrate mothers. I don’t need flowers or gifts or a special day – I just want my kids to keep calling, keep close and keep loving me.
I’ll stop by and “visit” my mom this weekend, but there will be no brunch or Mother’s Day trinkets – just one-sided conversation in the hopes that she hears me. Miss you, Mom. Happy mother’s day - every day.