It is Saturday evening, and I cannot write a blog post.
I have sat in front of the computer screen, walked around the house, opened the refrigerator, taken my blood pressure, unloaded the dishwasher, and put on my sexy anti-embolism stockings. Basically, I want to write a blog post for Mother’s Day that is inspiring and wonderful, but it just is not in me.
I just want to sit in front of my iPad watching “Law&Order: SVU” – I am pretty sure that I am addicted.
This is my ninth Mother’s Day without my mom; she died in June 2003 from a weird cancer. I try very hard to enjoy Mother’s Day even though she is no longer with me. I try to find another woman to celebrate in some way. Most years I give a card or a gift to someone who has been important to me or could use encouragement in that year. It has been a great way to enjoy Mother’s Day.
This year, I was supposed to be in Rhode Island visiting my grandmother and other relatives – most of them women. I had looked forward to this Mother’s Day as a way to be with those wonderful women on Mother’s Day. Due to the recent health stuff I had going on, I returned home rather than going out east. As much as I see this being necessary and good, I am sad.
And I am excited about tomorrow because I have great kids who will celebrate me well. I honestly have no idea what my problem is!
Earlier in the day, “Really Rosie” crossed my mind. The kids had decided to go to Southwest High School’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” – the boy saw it last night and wanted to see it again. The small cast size of the show reminded me of some of my community theater days, and “Really Rosie” was one of my favorites.
Musicals have been a huge part of my life which makes them a big part of my life both as daughter and as mother. My mom and I worked on a musical together when I was in high school. My kids love musicals, and we are having a great time working on these together.
It is now Sunday morning, and I remain stuck. I took a break thinking that maybe I would come up with something great and inspiring…but I have not.
Being a mom is the best and hardest thing I have ever done. Pouring myself into little people who are now grown people who can drive places on their own while I sit at home and pray that no one hits them on the road…well – the best and hardest thing I have ever done. I love being the mom of my children. They are so great, and I feel as if their greatness is in spite of me rather than because of me. I am so flawed….how could I possibly have raised these young people?
Being a daughter when the mom dies young is hard. But when is it not hard to be the daughter when the mom dies? I look at my friends who are ten, twenty, and thirty years my elder as they lose parents, and it does not seem any easier. In fact, there seems to be a difficulty in their experience that I cannot relate to – they had more years. At first, I was jealous about this and almost indignant that they had less right to sadness than I do. But I have come to realize that it is just different.
Loss has no singular experience.
And then I know that Mother’s Day is hard on so many for other reasons – women who want children of their own but have not or may not ever, women who have lost children to miscarriage or death, and women who had chosen abortion in their past but now feel that deep loss.
So – if Mother’s Day is full of sorrow and loss, why do we celebrate? And if this curse of pain stays with us from year to year, why should we set aside an entire day for this painful experience?
Days like to day are important. When grief is part of our experience, we can push it under the surface and move on without having to deal with it. We go on as if the painful experiences did not happen. Our culture expects us to do this. Other cultures allow for extended mourning periods, but ours does not. In order to face our culture, we give in to it and pretend that we are ok. And in doing so, we harm ourselves. Because others do not know how to deal with us in our pain – even, at times, those who share similar experiences – we create an unhealthy façade.
We hurt ourselves in this, and we hurts others in doing this. We provide an example for those around us that we says, “I can handle this.” And in doing so, we also say, “You must handle your loss as well.”
But days like Mother’s Day come, and we cannot ignore the pain or the sorrow. The truth of our experience wells up in us and – because we have not dealt with things appropriately – we hurt and want the day to go away. We want to stay home from church where we are faced with other people’s Mother’s Day moments because that is not our experience – maybe it never was or maybe it just is not anymore.
But we should not stay home from church, and we should not hide our pain. We were built for community, and our community was created in order to share with us in our sorrows as well as in our joy. Even in the midst of our pain, we need to be able to celebrate who our mothers were and the joys of others who still have their mothers with them.
Additionally, we need to look around us and see others who are in pain as well. Pain shared is easier to carry ourselves. Having a good, possibly brief, cry of remembrance together could be what we all need today in order to then celebrate what we have or what others have.
And for me – I need to look in the faces of my children and remember that this day is as much for them as it is for me. They want to celebrate me (they gifted me with a great bag this year, and I love it), and I need to be 100% in that celebration without tainting it for them.
This has turned into quite a little rant, and I doubt that it has much coherence, but I am going to hit “publish” anyway. If anything, I want to encourage us all to look a bit outside of ourselves today and honor those who have mothered for they have done a difficult work. And may God bless us with the joy and hope that comes from His word and His saving act of sending His son to die for us. It is in this that all pain and sorrow will one day make sense even though today it seems beyond our understanding.
Happy Mother’s Day!