I’ve definitely had a love/hate relationship with Mother’s Day, a day that seems to be more ridiculously amped each year that goes by. I’ve poked fun about how it’s turned into a total sham – a marketed excuse to buy stuff and quick fix for those who don’t honor their moms every day.
I’ve even been known to passively protest the day itself by skipping out on certain festivities in favor of working. Shhh!
My frustration with Mother’s Day has no rooted logical excuse – I had an ideal relationship with my mom for almost 40 years, what I like to call a perfect blend of parent/child bond and honest friendship.
Depending on whether I was in Fresno or if she made a trip to southern California, we’d celebrate in ways that fit our schedule and whereabouts – one year it was a trip to Vegas with my sister, another year it was a phone call from 240 miles away. No big deal.
Every day was Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day was just another day.
But this year, Mother’s Day will be a big deal: It will be my family’s first without my mom.
The last six months since her passing have been an awkward combination of nostalgia, gratitude and suffocating feelings of being in a deep dark pit that sometimes takes me days or weeks to fully climb my way out of.
From the outside I’m living life, working, uplifting my kids and feeding everyone dinner as anyone who’s experienced loss does (you just keep going).
But internally, I’ve also been tiptoe-ing around the big blank question of “How will I feel on May 13?” A part of me has been holding my breath, preparing for some kind of fatal tidal wave titled “Mother’s Day 2018.”
My kids have even brought it up, “Will you miss Grandma on Mother’s Day?” they ask.
My brain is telling me I should be cursing this next week, but my gut won’t let me. My mom won’t let me. You can handle it, she’d say.
Instead of freaking out about what’s to crash, I’m taking positive control before the wave lands. Occupy yourself, I’m telling myself. Be grateful for what’s still here. Handle it.
So, I’m inviting local family over for a fun and fancy Mother’s Day meal with flowers and everything. I’ll make my favorite recipes (ones my mom taught me), serve everything on pretty platters and crystal (wedding registries were always her favorite when someone got married). I will deck my daughters in matching dresses (my mom’s trademark for her granddaughters).
And even though I still consider Mother’s Day as a total sham, I now find myself approaching it with wounded and fresh perspective. For those of us who have lost our moms, Mother’s Day can be a time for us to focus on honoring what our moms taught us, how they motivated us, how we continue to love them even though they’ve moved on. (Need be, I can cry in the bathroom after everyone goes home.)
Call it “mom-ing up” – this Mother’s Day is my big opportunity to show my kids that love really can stay alive forever. Cheers to fabulous moms everywhere, here and beyond.