Monday, May 14, 2007

The Third Day of Mothers

Dear Friends,

I hope you all had a great Mother's Day. I didn't.

Now, let me just say right up front: my husband and kids gave me a lovely day, with lovely gifts. The weather was gorgeous, and we had a really nice brunch with my mother-in-law. I painted my adirondack chairs all afternoon. Everyone helped, mind you, so it wasn't just me doing chores all alone. But it was a chore and it was Mother's Day. It was also my choice.

For weeks, I was asked, "What do you want to do on Mother's Day?" and "What are your plans for Mother's Day?" and "Are you doing anything special for Mother's Day?" My answers: Nothing, nothing, and nothing. I didn't want to have a not-special day, but I didn't want to do anything. I didn't even want to think about it. I didn't want to try to dissect my mood, but eventually, I had to get around to it. It's not that I didn't want it to be a special day, I just didn't want it to be Mother's day.

This was the third Mother's Day since my mom died. Of course the first Mother's Day was really hard. Of course I really missed Mom then. Last year seemed just as hard. Somehow, I expected it to be better. This year, I simply dreaded it.

When I was younger, Mother's Days were special, like Easter. They were family days, beautiful sweet sunny days. We would go out with my grandmother... we would see family and have a nice dinner. After I was married I would have my parents down or we'd drive up to see them for the weekend. Sometimes we'd even treat Mom to a fancy dinner! It was a nice time together. There was a reason to get dressed up, a reason to go out, a reason to celebrate... Mother's Day was about celebrating my mother.

I miss that. I miss her. This was the third Mother's Day without her. I keep thinking it would be easier and less painful as each year passes, and in many ways, it is. Almost every other day of the year, it is. She's not suffering any more. She's not stuck in a world that confuses her, or that she understands but can't acknowledge. She's not starving for food that chokes her when she eats. She's not watching her life fade around her anymore. She's gone on to a new life and I can feel that she's relieved of her burden.

Mom is not here for me to honor any more. But as I scrubbed my paint-coated fingers and fanned the bristles of my crusty old brushes, I was sad that my third Mother's Day without my mom was gone. It's one more year farther away from her.

I decided to write about this to remind myself of the meaning of Mother's Day. It is a day to honor our mothers. I didn't do much to honor my mom this year, nor to be honored myself. And that's sad. My kids deserve to grow up with the kind of Mother's Days that I knew - that they used to know, before Grandmom died.

This third day of Mothers is the last that I will allow myself to wallow in my sadness. Next year I will again honor my mother. Heck, maybe I'll even pick someplace fancy.


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