WARNING: If you saw the title of this blog and thought “oh dear Lord, DEPRESSING,” you’re right, and this blog probably isn’t for you. Preserve your happy “Mothers Day breakfast in bed” feelings and walk away.
If you read the title, heavingly exhaled the word “WORD,” and then dropped your head into your hand as you talked yourself out of drinking directly from the bottle for the umpteenth time this week… this blog is for you.
Because I don’t know you, but maybe you may fall into one of the following categories of “Motherless”:
I have single friends who hate Valentine’s Day. I hear their cries… “Fuck Valentines!” “It’s a made up holiday!” “Oh just rub our single-hood in our face why don’t you!?” “Please, I want to be single!” “Let’s go out and dance our asses off at our own Singles Awareness Party!” All with the hope that one day a Valentine’s will come where they won’t be single, and they’ll join the gloating masses.
But for those of us in our special Mothers Day club, there’s no comfort of this holiday being made up, and there’s no “my mother died! Yahoo!” dance parties, and there’s little-to-no hope that someday we won’t be motherless. It just is what it is.
Which is situationally achey.
It starts about a week out, and it builds as people start gearing up for the big day…and I frantically try to take it all in stride.
I find myself avoiding public proclamations about people’s amazing moms.
When I see facebook statuses that read “REPOST THIS IF YOU’RE MOM IS THE BEST MOM EVER!”
And when I see articles about some amazing mom who did something amazing.
And when people tell me about the fantastic Mothers Day festivities they have planned, I excuse myself to take a fake phone call. I get out of sight.
THEN I RUN.
And when people ask what I’m doing for my mom on Mothers Day…
I emotionally collapse. Because I long for those shopping trips and brunches with my mom. And because I hate, hate, hate, the look on people’s faces when I say, “my mother’s passed.” (And do I say “passed?” or “dead?” Because dead is harsh and sometimes when I say passed, they say “passed what?” Which means I have to explain further and prolong my agony.).
Basically, imagine someone asking a woman who’s not pregnant when she’s due. Then imagine the asker’s face when the woman says she’s not pregnant. Okay, same face. Plus, I then feel the need to make the person feel better about asking their question when all I want to do is run somewhere to cry.
It’s a lot like the time a man asked me if I was pregnant…in sign language. He pointed at my stomach than made a rocking a cradled baby motion with his arms. I didn’t understand, so he repeated. Then he had his young son translate verbally. I replied, “No,” and turned away. He then came back up to apologize for asking if I was pregnant. Which means he signed “sorry” then pointed to my stomach and did the baby motion again. Then his young son said, “my dad is sorry for asking if you’re pregnant.” And then, despite the fact that I was fully humiliated and wanted to run, I smiled cheerfully and said, “Oh, no worries, I knew I should not have worn this shirt today. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.” (Note: it really was the shirt, and I torched that piece of shit when I got home.)
Anyways, where was I? Ah yes…
All of this is probably an indication that I need more therapy, and maybe not the healthiest approach, but it’s too much salt in a wound at once. I prefer the “wet a Q-tip, dip in salt, gently apply to wound” method. As opposed to the “take the lid off the salt container, poor entire contents on wound, grind down with pressure” method.
And don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy being a mom on Mothers Day. I thought when I had my two beautiful children I wouldn’t be sad about Mothers Day at all anymore. But that’s not the case. I am less sad, and the ache lingers.
Partly because I’ve had to work so hard to accept my parenting status, approach, and skills with no one to call over the years and say, “is this normal?!” or “HELP!?” or “what would you do?”
And similarly, there’s been no one to say, “that’s totally normal.” or “Here, let me help.” or “You might try.”
I’ve relied on books, and Oprah, and a few beloved surrogates or role models to help me fight tooth and nail to become the kind of mother that I hope my kids might want to celebrate one day. My lingering worry over that is another one of the reasons why I haven’t yet fully relaxed into enjoying Mothers Day. Oh, the pressure I put on myself.
So anyway, if Mothers Day is to you what Valentines Day is to singles, I just wanted you to know, you’re not alone. AND IT’S JUST ONE WEEK (it used to just be one day, but social media makes that impossible now…thanks a lot fb). And maybe we can cheer ourselves up a bit by appreciating that we’re still standing… and showing some love to the people who love us and help keep us standing. INCLUDING OURSELVES.
Oh, and let’s spread the love! When you see a mom or dad doing a good job, tell them. When you see children behaving beautifully, compliment their parents. When you see children acting a fool, tell their parents “hang in there, it’s normal.” Because you just never know if one or both of them needed to hear that from somebody.