Happy I Might Never Be a Mother's Day
I am posting this blog in advance of the impending holiday because I don’t want to steal any of the thunder you mothers will receive on Mother’s Day. Mothers work tirelessly raising children and I have the utmost respect for the job they do. I yearn to be in your midst, and to “understand” all of those mysteries you say I will not understand until I am a mother. In fact, I thought about not writing about this at all because I have a feeling people might not like it and might misinterpret it as a slight to the women who are mothers. But, I am writing this because I know I am not alone. There are other women, who like me, feel alone and broken on Mother’s Day. Every year, it stands as a reminder of what I do not have and what I want most.
I had the best mom ever, hands down. Your mom might be great and all, and I respect your opinion, but my mom was the best. It wasn’t that she coddled me or did everything for me. Actually, it was quite the opposite. She wasn’t afraid to let me try. She gave me the tools, the confidence and the tenacity to make my own way in the world. But, she was always there, with an encouraging word, when things didn’t go as planned or times got tough. I knew without a doubt in every second of every day my mother loved me. In fact, she loved me enough in the twenty four years I had her that I will never doubt her love, even if I live to be 103.
I remember the craziest things from my childhood. She sang when she did everything… washing the dishes, vacuuming the rug, walking the dog. I smile every time I hear “Groovy Kind of Love” or “When a Man Loves a Woman”. There was nothing we couldn’t talk about. She answered countless questions, usually patiently. I remember trips to the grocery store or mall where we spelled and sounded out all of the signs and terms on the products when I was little. I remember plaster of paris all over when we made a model coal mine. I remember conversations about books we both read when I was in high school. I remember celebrating Relay for Life like it was a national holiday. I remember the way she talked about "her kids" (her students) and "her girls" (that's me and my sister). My mom was just so full of love for life and for her girls.
I also remember the sole time I was smacked by her, when she popped me in the mouth for backtalk. I was about 12 and we were standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes. The hit was quick, and hurt my pride more than anything else. I cried for a long time in my room. She later told me she did, too.
Losing her 8 1/2 years ago cast a cloud over Mother’s Day that has never dissipated. Each year, while others find the best card or perfect gift, I search through craft stores, yearning to find the perfect artificial flowers to adorn her headstone. It’s all I can do now to show an outward reflection of my love for her. I don’t even live close enough to make the trip myself, so now I rely on my sister to convey the love we both have for her.
When Jeremy and I started trying to conceive years ago, I thought Mother’s Day might get its shiny, happy feeling back. The first year of TTC was still sad, but we were hopeful. But, as the years have added up, that hope has waned. I have watched people around me build families and raise children. They were trying, or newly pregnant, when we started, and their children have started school. Still, my womb is empty. Mother’s Day is a constant reminder of what I haven’t been able to do, of the wish that has long been unfulfilled and the hope that gets harder to hold onto.
I’m trying to stay positive as we move on to a slightly different protocol next cycle. But, on Sunday, I know my hope will be weak. You see, I want a son or daughter to remember the crazy things about their childhood, the childhood I will be seeing them through. I know I’ll never be the mother my mother was, but I know I have quirks. I want a child to find them and think they are so weird for about twenty years. Then, I want them to think they are funny and make them think of me. When I’m gone, I want them to remember the quirks and remember the wonder of their childhood. I want them to know my strangeness only manifested in my love for them.
So, this Mother’s Day, celebrate the mom you still have. Enjoy the time you are being celebrated, if you are a mom. But, remember, for a moment, those women who harbor that green eyed monster for the family you have. We don’t want to steal your joy. But, oh, would we love to share it.