There are many who have close, supportive and loving relationships with their moms. I’m not one of them.
Non-gushy greeting cards
While my mom was alive, my relationship with her was confusing, complicated and unpredictable. Mother’s Day was an exercise in choosing a card that wasn’t gushy. I avoided anything that said, “Best.” If you haven’t shopped for a non-gushy Mother’s Day card, you’ve missed a challenge. It’s like looking for a Valentine’s card without a heart.
Now that she’s passed on, I don’t have to shop for a card anymore. The rest of my life will be motherless. But my relationship with her hasn’t ended. The resurrection of our relationship happened in forgiveness.
In being a mother myself, I see the impossibility of it. I have the good fortune to be sane. I don’t grapple with mental illness as she did and I still have days where I’m not the patient, loving mom I want to be. In raising my own son and writing my memoir, I understand what she faced and why she failed in the ways she did.
But how would I post that on Facebook? “Here’s a photo of my mom and I have mixed feelings about her.”
Not fitting the idealized picture
Mother’s Day is a hard day for those who have lost their mothers. You might feel like staying in bed and letting the day pass you by. If you are in this group, you’re not alone. It’s OK to feel sad, despite all the wishes of Happy Mother’s Day! Break the rules. If feeling sad because you miss her feels like the right thing to do, then I wish you a Sad Mother’s Day! You’re sad because you loved her.
There is the celebration of children on Mother’s Day. “Look at the flowers my son gave me! Here’s the glittery card they made at school! I was treated to breakfast in bed of Eggs Benedict!” I have the good fortune to have a healthy son right now but I’m aware that it’s not always the case. What about those who have children who are different? Children with developmental issues or health problems, children who will never understand the concept of Mother’s Day, let alone organize making a breakfast for it. Did you see any posts from mothers who wrote, “My son doesn’t make eye contact with me but I love him anyway and I’m doing the best I can to be a good mother.”
I don’t see the painful posts from the women who wanted to become mothers but didn’t. The words of, “I wanted to be a mother but miscarriages/finances/sterility/relationship issues/life got in the way so I’ll never know motherhood.”
What we see on Facebook can make others’ lives seem smooth and happy. If your own life seems grittier, harder and not as happy, consider the possibility of the things not posted.