I’ve been sitting here for several minutes trying to write something heartfelt on what it’s like to be motherless on Mother’s Day. This is what I’ve come up with:
I’ve been motherless for the past eighteen Mother’s Days, so I guess I’m fairly used to it by now. I don’t generally get weepy when Mother’s Day cards start hitting the shelves or commercials start airing on TV. Most days I can watch movies or read books in which the main character loses their mother and not become emotionally distraught. I’ve forgotten the grief of the first Mother’s Day without your mom there to send a card to, to take to lunch, to buy flowers. Or maybe it’s not so much forgotten as it is folded into a tiny square, placed in a locked box, and set on a dark, dank shelf somewhere in the back of my mind waiting to be found and examined.
I only remember bits and pieces of my mom who died when I was seventeen. I’m more than double that age now; I’ve spent more than half my life without her in it. No wonder I don’t have very many memories that surface easily, which aren’t tinged with some degree of sadness or sickness or anger. I had all the teenage angst with none of the resolution.
So for now, that box will stay up on its dusty shelf. I’ll pull it down some day and examine it more closely, but not today. Today I’m going to cover my son in kisses and feel his arms wrapped around my neck. I’m going to breathe in his scent: fresh air and sunshine and dirt mixed with a hint of the sweet baby smell that’s rapidly disappearing as he gets older. Today I’m going to appreciate being a mother instead of having a mother. In that way I will honor her and pass on the lessons I learned from her. And by doing this, I know she would be proud.