Sunday night I rested in my daughter’s room on the edge of her bed. She sat up like the center of a rose in a pile of her favorite stuffed toys and pillows as she told me with sparkle-eyed excitement about the Mother’s Day booklet that she made for me at school that she couldn’t wait to give me.
I patted her arm and smiled and reminded her that Mother’s Day is still a couple of weeks away so she can hold onto it for just a bit longer and I will be very eager to see it when it’s time. Of course I couldn’t help but feel floods of love and tenderness for this sweet little creature who can love so completely. And to think that this love was all for me!
As I walked out of her room and closed the door for the night I remembered how it was to be a little girl full of love for a mommy and so excited to gift a bundle of fresh-picked flowers, a macaroni necklace, or special picture drawn for the occasion of celebrating mothers.
Those days seem so long ago that it’s almost as though they didn’t happen. You see, except for the treasures my children share with me on Mother’s Day or the satisfaction I get on that day from recognizing how lucky I am to have two beautiful and wonderful children, I hate Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day fills me with anxiety and pain to the point where I cannot even walk through a display of Mother’s Day cards and I have to purposely divert my attention away from ads and signs proclaiming that it’s “time to let Mom know how much you love her!”
For at least ten years my own mother has instructed me that if I send anything to her house, such as flowers, she will refuse it at the door. If I mail anything, she will return it. For a while, I still tried to sneak by with a card; but, Mother’s Day card selection was agonizing for me. I would read through every flowery, tear-jerking card just to put each one back. None of the cards said what I needed to say or were even half-way appropriate.
How could I thank my mom for “always being there, always loving me,” and all of the other sentiments beautifully scrawled on all of those folded pieces of paper? Back in my card buying days (up to seven years ago) I would stare blankly at all of the lovely cards while I grieved that my mother and I had nothing like any of the loving relationships depicted in those cards. I would usually pick the very most generic and basic card because any other would be a lie or a mockery of what I thought we used to have, but clearly never did.
I guess you could say I have been off the hook from any sort of Mother’s Day gifting because my mom hasn’t even talked to me in seven years. Ironically, one of our last major conversations centered on Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day seven years ago my marriage was in the height of shambles. For months I had attempted to seek her support and guidance through this difficult situation and she condemned me for leaving a marriage with children. She told me I was pushing 40, overweight, and had two children, so surely I could never do better and just needed to suffer through.
On this particular Mother’s Day my ex and I had already started a visitation schedule with the children and it happened to be his weekend. He asked me if he could have part of Mother’s Day Sunday with the kids so they could do something with his mom. I reluctantly said “yes” because I wanted them all to myself; but, she is very special to them so I decided I would play nice and let him keep the children in the morning for breakfast with grandma.
My aunt called me that morning to confront me about why I didn’t have my children. What kind of mother was I?
Apparently my children’s father lied to my family and told them I didn’t even want them on Mother’s Day.
Murder is still illegal in Ohio, so there was really nothing more I could do than to plead with my family to believe that I wanted nothing more than to be with my babies, but was stuck in this nightmare of having to share them with his family too.
Lies piled upon ridiculous lies and now I no longer have a relationship with my parents or my aunt. I’ve decided it’s for the best because some relationships are just toxic and more damaging to the psyche to try to maintain than the pain it causes to let it all go.
I know she’s out there somewhere. I wonder what it feels like to her on Mother’s Day, to have no contact with her only child. I suppose this is exactly what she wanted. It’s not what I wanted by any means; but, I can only invest all of my love and hopes into the future and what healing can be accomplished through my own children.
I hate Mother’s Day; but, yet I am willing to let little scribbled pictures and heartfelt pipe cleaner creations put the pieces of my heart back together.
Keep in mind when mother’s Sunday comes around and mothers everywhere are celebrated that it’s not a joyous occasion for everyone.
Some of us do not have a loving relationship with our mothers.
Others have lost their moms to the end of life.
Some mothers are separated from their children because of divorce or even parental alienation.
Some stepmoms are struggling to become part of their partner’s family, only to be rejected by stepchildren.
Still other mothers have suffered the most tragic event of all, and have lost a child.
Many women we know and love would give anything they have to become mothers, and are struggling through infertility.
Please don’t make assumptions about what any one woman’s situation may or may not be. One’s mother or the role of motherhood is so integral to each person’s life in their own unique way. We all have our own story of what having or being a mother means to us, and each of our stories can’t always be expressed in a beautiful Mother’s Day card.
I will happily anticipate wrapping my kids in my arms when we mark the occasion; but, there is always an arrow in my heart that pains me if I allow myself to think about the holiday too much.
My love goes out to all of the beautiful mothers everywhere.
My heart also goes out to everyone who equates Mother’s Day with loss or sadness.