My daughter said, “Momma don’t look in my backpack. I’m hiding your Mother’s day gift.” So I closed my eyes and I said “not looking….” and I heard her pitter pattering down the hall to find her secret hiding spot. I grin and stammer “I wanna look. Let me look, now!” She giggles and I hear her stop. She giggles more. Then runs back. “Not till Sunday Momma!” Then I realize Mother’s Day IS this Sunday. In all the madness of May so far, I had completely forgotten.
I know this day should make me want to shout to all the world to celebrate my title as Mom. I really did work hard for that title, but the thought of another Mother’s Day just sends pits through my stomach. Pits of guilt for my friends on the roller coaster of fertility treatments. Pits for my friends who have buried the children far too soon. Pits of guilt for not being enough for my own children. Pits of uneasy feelings that I know will hit me come Sunday morning.
I give her hugs and kisses as she comes barreling back into the kitchen and I tell her, “I sure can’t wait to see what my surprise is. “Boy I sure have one lucky girl to make me such a big surprise.”
Yes, I’m excited to see what she worked really hard to make me. Yes, I’m excited to proudly display it and maybe even post it on social media. Of course I am so incredibly grateful to her teachers who take time every. single.year to acknowledge Mothers. Of course I love every bit of fiber that my little girl is.
Mother’s Day makes me yearn for my own mother like nobody’s business. I use to believe through all those years of infertility treatments that Mother’s Day would ache less once I had my own babies. That having my own babies would somehow feel that void of her- of Sue- of church on Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day reminds me of corsages, church, pictures in your Sunday best, Sunday dinners, and mostly it reminds me of her. Of everything I miss. Not just miss like your going to see them next Saturday miss, but a I don’t know how it’s been so long miss. A I can’t remember what your skin smells like miss. I miss you like I’m 6 again and my very best friend just moved away. It’s combination of so much missing that you realize it’s not even missing at all, it’s a vacant part of your heart that hurts.
Every year I contemplate, do I attend church or do I not? Where am I emotionally? Every year it is different. Every year I think ” I totally got this.”
The year I had my daughter, “Mother’s Day will be SO much better this year.”
That year I found myself in tears as a speaker spoke of the loss of her Mother and her same aches in her heart. Oh how I know how she feels. Oh how I wish I could take away her pain.
Last year I avoided Mother’s Day completely. I had delivered our son in March. Mentally, I couldn’t deal with motherhood in general. It was exhausting. Life was exhausting. There have been times in my life when I really wanted my Mom, but no time like after I had him last year. I don’t remember it being as bad after I delivered my daughter. But with him it was the worst yearning I had for her in years. I couldn’t shake it. Mother’s Day I knew would put me in the deep end for sure.
So I avoided it. I refused to even go to dinner or cook out on Sunday with my family. Let’s just go another day that isn’t so pink and happy I said.
This year, things are better. If I think of last May compared to this May I make a big sigh and smile. Life is SO much better.
I still question my emotional health on this day and I’ve decided:
I MUST somehow acknowledge it for my daughter, who is SO SO proud to give me her present.
I MUST somehow acknowledge it for my daughter, who is watching me. Who is seeing how I cope and deal with life and death and happiness and joy.
I MUST somehow acknowledge that my heart still deeply aches for my mother, for Sue, for her laughter, for her hugs, for her scolding, for her hand in mind in the church pew on Mother’s Day. The way my hand would turn her wedding band and diamond round and round on her finger all through the service each and every Sunday. The way I wondered would my hands have those veins and wrinkles too some day? I surely hope not I’d think.
I MUST somehow acknowledge that I AM a GOOD MOTHER. That I am pushing along. That my children are fed, and clean, and bathed and so so deeply loved. That maybe they will turn out to be good, honest, and giving people and will someday yearn for me like I yearn for my own.
I MUST somehow acknowledge that Mother’s Day will forever come and go and I will still be missing her. Missing how her hand met mine on Sunday morning as I’d pass out my flower to my Mom, because
even though I am one,
even though I prayed for years to be one,
some days being a mother is hard, tricky, and terribly sticky. I want to be that little girl, the teenager, and young adult, who finds her hand in mine and feel her hands run through my hair for a moment
then feel her
arm wrap around mine as the primary sings “I see my mother kneeling with our family each day, I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray. Her plea to the Father quiets all my my fears,–And I am thankful love is spoken here.”
because in those sweet moments, even when she was faced with her own mortality more than once, she reminded me that she was there, I was safe, and everything to worry of is so fleeting and nothing to really worry with.
So for Mother’s Day I really only want two things. I want to open my daughter’s gift. I want to sit in the pew that I use to sit in with my own mother and grandmother and hold her hand and rock my baby boy and remind them
everything is going to be okay
I am Mom
and because I am Mom
everything is fleeting and
everything is going to turn out just fine.
- “Love is Spoken Here.” LDS Children’s Songbook Pg. 190 https://www.lds.org/music/library/childrens-songbook/love-is-spoken-here? lang=eng