Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day for the Motherless

Today is my first Mother's Day as a member of the honored group. My son gave me the amazing gift of seven hours of sleep in a row. My husband spoiled me beyond measure with books, jewelry, and cards. He even hid the grimace I know he felt when I cheerfully roped him into a trip to the farmer's market.

As my baby naps upstairs, and I sit here sipping coffee out of my brand new Mom mug, I find myself daydreaming about another way this day could have gone.

In my day dream, plans for today came about after weeks of negotiation, manipulation, white lies, and annoyance. I, undoubtedly, would have tried to hold my ground and insist that our family met in a real (i.e. not chain) restaurant in a real (i.e. Baltimore) city. I would have felt justified in digging in because it is, after all, my first Mother's Day.

In the end, someone would have claimed (feigned?) illness, and arguments would have been made about bringing three children here versus one baby there. I would have ended up grouchily sitting at an Olive Garden I had to drive an hour to get to with my parents, sister, brother, niece, and nephews. Inevitably, my brother would have shorted the check, or Dad would have brought up politics, or my mom would have made some harmless comment about me being a working mom that would have cut me to the core. I would have left aggravated and complained all the way home to my husband.

As miserable as that sounds, I am sitting here wishing for that day, the day I would have had if cancer hadn't taken my mom six years ago.

This brilliant article by David Ferguson is the closest thing I have ever seen when it comes to describing the loss of your mother. In truth, you have not lost a mother, you are suddenly lost. Since she died, I have so often felt adrift,besieged, and without an anchor.

Because that is what our mothers are, or should be: our anchors.

My mom was far from perfect. Truthfully, she was very strange. She talked to strangers about her cervix. Her drive to keep the peace made her quite the enabler for all of the strong personalities around her. A sister to five brothers, she herself lost her mother at a young age and thus had no freaking idea what to do with two daughters.

And yet, she was an incredible mom, brave fighter, and all around amazing woman. Though I miss her every day, some days, like today, her loss is raw and distracting.

Becoming a mother without one is so much harder than I could have imagined. I don't so much miss her in the tough moments, the times where a sick baby will not be soothed or work schedules just will not cooperate (though I'd be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about some help in those moments). I miss her in the amazing moments. When my son laughed for the first time, her absence was painful.

And today. Today I want the annoying lunch at Olive Garden. I want to be so mad at my mom that she didn't stick up for me and drag everyone to Baltimore.

My kid is stirring, pulling me out of my maudlin little day dream. I still find it fascinating that I start to miss him when he's been napping too long, and so I am very excited to go pick him up. He is starting to hug me back now. I kiss his cheek, and he giggles and then latches on the side of my face, mouth open, like an eel.

Everything in my life right now is a little damp. I've stopped asking whether my shoulder is wet from drool, vomit, or carrot puree. Moist shoulders are simply my reality now.

And I almost couldn't be happier. I have the most amazing, patient partner (even if he gets to sleep more than me and I resent him a tiny bit for it). I have one of those happy, easy babies. He even sleeps now. My joys far outweigh my sorrows or my worries, and that is an amazing life.

I just wish my mom was here to see it.

So as you are wishing all of the moms in your life a happy day today, don't forget the motherless. Even if they are one and the same, today is a tough day if you don't have an anchor.


1 comment:

  1. Beautifully said. I met your mother a few times and I have to say she was a very special lady. I hope you know that she did brag about you. Congrats on your sleep. :-)

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