For the past 5 years, I have hated Mother's Day. My mother passed away in 2007 and every year since then when spring rolled around and the greeting cards reared their heads, I felt the resentment start to bubble up. “Tell mom how much she really means,” the signs at Hallmark told me. It felt like a mean joke and just another reminder of all I’ve lost.
As an adult, my mother and I were very close. For many years we talked on the phone several times a day, relating the little details of our lives. I knew what she’d had for lunch, what she was watching on TV, and how she was feeling. She knew those same things about me, right down to which book I was reading and what was upsetting me at work. We had catchphrases and inside jokes we’d repeat and laugh about and we shared very similar opinions on politics and life in general.
The first Mother's Day after she died when I passed by the greeting cards in a store, I thought about buying her one. Maybe, I thought, I could start a tradition of getting her a card every year--a kind of “taking back” of the day. But then I thought about how I’d never actually get to send the cards and how they’d just sit in a drawer somewhere. Then I thought about how the inside jokes will never change--My mother and I are frozen in time, like the one and only picture I have of us taken together a few years before she died. So with that, I decided not to get her any cards and just disregard the day.
This year all of that seems to have changed. Instead what I have is the feeling I had when I would come home late as a teenager and my mother would be in bed, awake and waiting for me to get home. She couldn’t sleep soundly until she knew my siblings and I were safely home. At the time, we teased her for it, but even then, it was very assuring and comforting. And in thinking about it, those daily phone calls all the years after I'd left home made me feel the same way. It's truly what my mother gave me, above everything else, the feeling that she was always there, looking out for me and cheering me on. I'd like to think that wherever she is now, she's still doing that. I also think that to know and remember and not doubt that on a day like today, is the best way for me to celebrate Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day to my friends near and far!!