I’ve looked, but I’ve never found a greeting card that says, “Mom, thanks for not killing me during one of your hallucinations.”
Complicated, striking, unforgettable: my mother. She suffered from schizophrenia and obesity, both conditions that made her a constant target for our society’s criticism. I was her shy, mortified child who trailed behind. With her loud breathing, she could have supplied the soundtrack to a horror film. She dressed in clothes that were too bright and shiny even for the 1970s. The volume of her voice dominated a room.
There was hell to pay if she didn’t receive a card for Mother’s Day. While she was alive, I browsed through hundreds of cards to seek the one I could honestly give. Most were sappy, and included sentiments like “Best Mom” and “Thankful I grew up to be like you”. I sought only the vague wishes that seemed truthful. Most years, I got something floral and noncommittal; “Thinking of you; happy Mother’s Day.”
I’ve been a mother myself for a decade and a half, but I don’t feel like I own the day. Mother’s Day belongs to my mother.
Gone for five years, she is still with me
I think of her most days. She would be so proud. She would delight in knowing that I spoke at the conference in Jeff City. She would put up this photo of my son with his state champion medal. She would love these artificially dyed fresh flowers in the grocery store.
Sunday is a day to celebrate motherhood for what it really is: snotty, competitive, clingy, exhausting, drippy, strengthening, messy, aggravating, holy and more fulfilling than anything else. All at the same time. It starts with babies who both smell like heaven and have a tendency to projectile vomit. It only gets more demanding from there. Motherhood isn’t neat enough to fit on a card.
You might miss the mom you had, or the mom you wish you had, or the mom you wish you could be, or the mom who remembered you before Alzheimer’s took her from you. Give yourself permission to make the day as comfortable as possible. You’ll reminisce. Indulge in what eases your mind. Do puzzles. Binge watch TV. Take a hot bath. Give extra smiles to everyone you see.
To the single moms out there whose kids won’t get it together to bring you breakfast in bed…
To the women who wanted to become mothers, but couldn’t…
To the stepmoms doing their best…
To the women who have lost a child…
To the ones who have lost their mothers…
To those of you who have a difficult relationship with your mom…
To all of you, I wish you an OK Mother’s Day.
If Mother’s Day hurts, remember you’re not alone.
Lord, bring your mercy and forgiveness
to our relationships.
Ease the ones who struggle.
Bless all of us, your children.
Tell me your thoughts!
How is Mother’s Day for you? Do you have plans? Do you have a favorite memory?