In 1992, I stopped being a fan of Mother’s Day. My mom died suddenly that year, and Mother’s Day’s celebrations became a taunting and painful reminder of losing the person who loved me the most.
Blast forward a decade or so to 2003. I’m married now. And although it’s been over ten years since my mom died, I’m still not ready to reconcile with the second Sunday of the merry month of May. Not only am I still missing my mom, I also now find myself in the throes of an infertility struggle. My whole heart is aching to be a mom, yet month after month, my body stays steadfastly childfree. Mother’s Day is a double-edged sword: I have no mother, and I am not a mother. Mother’s Day sucks.
It’s 2019 now. I have two fabulous teenage daughters. I love, love, love being their mom. Year after year, they present me with a Mother’s Day craft or poem which I treasure and tuck away. Yet, despite all of their love, I remain steadfastly anti-Mother’s Day.
To be clear – I don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Mother’s Day. I have nothing against those of you who will have a beautiful celebration with your grandmothers, mothers, and your children on Sunday. Your joy will blow up my social media feed. And, God knows, if my mom had not died, I’m sure that we would be brunching together, and I would be posting photos of my children hugging their grandmother. That just isn’t how my life panned out, though. And it’s hard.
Yet, because of the losses in my life, I know things now that I never would have known – and I can’t be silent about them. So, rather than the Grinch, allow me instead to be the Lorax, that funny little orange guy who speaks up for those who might not. This weekend, remember these voices, and be gentle as you post your celebrations.
I speak for those who will hate Mother’s Day this year.
I speak for the unwilling members of the Motherless Daughter Club – women who tire of hearing how this day is to “honor your mom’s memory.” I see you. It’s okay to host a personal pity party today. You don’t always have to be noble about your loss: it is unfair that your mom is not here.
I speak for the women who are waiting to become mothers. I see you, my beautiful broken sisters. Your life revolves around fertility shots, and IVF quests, and acupuncture treatments. You have bought more pregnancy tests than you care to admit. You may have endured the joy of pregnancy only to taste the bitterness of miscarriage, over and over again. This day is a cruel reminder of your suffering. I am sorry for the waiting and the worry.
I speak for the mothers who have lost a child: too soon to disease – too unexpected by accident – too tragically by suicide. I see you. Mother’s Day shines a harsh light on the emptiness that beats in your heart every day. Your loss takes my breath away.
I speak for women who chose adoption for their children, who wonder where their babies are and imagine what they look like now. I see you as you hope that your children are being raised in a safe and loving home. I love you for your sacrifice, and I am sorry for your pain today.
I speak for my sisters whose mothers are suffering. I see you, becoming the caretaker for the person who cared for you. I see how tired you are; I see how worried you are. And I speak for those whose mothers are here but whose minds are not. I see you bringing her flowers today, and wondering if she will remember your name. I know this day can bring uncertainty, guilt, and fear- will your mom be here for another Mother’s Day? Friends, I wish you peace.
My mom read me a lot of Dr. Seuss, and that Lorax is a pretty great guy. He spoke up for those who could not speak. And I know there are many other voices out there whose ache is magnified every Mother’s Day. I want you to know that I see you. And I don’t love Mother’s Day either. I wish you strength and love this weekend. Take heart: Monday will soon be here.