Motherless Day Redux

Posted by on May 9, 2011

Every year on Mother’s Day, I struggle a little bit. I’m not sad or depressed but I have mixed feelings about this day.

After giving it some thought, I concluded that those feelings haven’t changed at all since I wrote about Mother’s Day 5 years ago so instead of trying to re-invent the proverbial wheel, I’ve pasted it in below.

Hope all the other mamas out there had as lovely day as I did. You deserve it :)


Another Mother’s Day is upon us and it seems they come faster and faster now that I have kids of my own. People always say things like that and by God, they sound so old when they do. But now I understand why they say it. It’s true.

Something about being a parent causes life to move at warp speed. And I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy it whizzing past me like billboards on the interstate. I don’t like important dates sneaking up on me so quickly. And I don’t like getting old faster than I can get used to the idea of each age. I’m sure there’s a way to better handle all of it. Perhaps with Tai Chi or meditation. And I will look into those as soon as I have time, as soon as I’m done taking care of everyone else and everything else.

What I really wanted to write about was my mother, you know, in honor of the BIG day. It’s odd but I never think of Mother’s Day as MY holiday, too. In my mind, it’s still the one where my husband and I get up and make the effort, tired or not, for the other mothers in our life. When he and the kids do something nice for me, it never fails to surprise…because this is my mother’s special day.

I so wanted to write about her. I did. And parts of the story are already written. But I’m not sure this is the time I want to share it. Ideally my Mother’s Day tribute would be uplifting. And inspiring. Or at least happy. But the story of my mother is not. It’s sad and I don’t want to do sad; not this weekend anyway.

So to honor my mother, I’ve decided to refer back to something I wrote recently. It made me feel good in a cathartic sort of way, while inspiring me to treasure my own experiences as a mother and I know that’s what Mom would want.

Silver Linings

“Mother may I?” is the topic of our blog writing exchange this month.

For me, these are loaded words.

My mother died in a car accident when I was thirteen. I am motherless.

I do have other mother figures in my life. I have a stepmother. I have a biological mother. I have a mother-in-law.

I’m grateful to have these other women in my life but they will never fill that hole. I feel  cheated. Sometimes I am angry. I think about what I don’t have.

People have asked me if I missed my mother more since having children. I have no idea how to answer that. I mean of course I miss having a “mother person” to do what mothers do when their daughters have babies. Help me. Support me. Teach me. Annoy me.

But I never knew my mother as an adult person. As an adolescent, our relationship was somewhat complicated; I can’t imagine what our relationship would be like now. I do imagine, of course, what I would want it to be like…but it feels like a dream. A fantasy. A wish unfulfilled.

And I have to accept it.

I will never have what everyone else takes for granted.

Unconditional maternal love.

But I can give it. And I have so much. Enough for a hundred children.

And it’s because of this that I tell my daughter that I love her two dozen times a day.

And remind her that I will always love her no matter what; that there is nothing she could ever do to make me stop; that I will always, always be here for her.

My son isn’t old enough to understand such things but I tell him anyway. I shower him with kisses. I shower him with happy smiles. I carry him around until my arm is about to break off.

My children are all I have in this world and I adore them.

Despite my feeling bitter over not having a mother for nearly my whole life, I am usually one to look for the silver lining; one who believes that everything happens just the way it’s supposed to and that good can come from bad.

But I’ve given up trying to find the silver lining in being motherless. I’m pretty sure there isn’t one for me.

But my children…they have a mother that loves them immeasurably; a mother who, in having lost every living family member before the age of 36, understands the fragility of life, the importance of the little things; a mother who takes nothing for granted.

And I think to myself, that’s OUR silver lining.

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