All week I kept forgetting it was Mother's Day, so when people asked me what I was doing for it I was startled. Mother's Day? Wow. Nope. No plans. Didn't even really think about it. No plans. We never really 'plan' Mother's Day anyway. But I don't tell them that is mainly because I am not in charge of planning for Mother's Day. My husband is supposed to be.
However, now that Alex is getting older, she is the real task master and tries to keep her father on his toes and focused. Food for breakfast-in-bed (after I bought it and she asked me what I wanted). Check. Gifts ("Mom said she wanted that book Lean In.") Check. And the wonderful beautiful assortments of hands in the shapes of flowers and poems about how fast time goes (that make me cry), a collection of special pens, hand made cards and even an Animoto! Then there's also that wonderful bottle of Merlot from the boys, with an added beautiful message from my oldest. A text from family members and an old student and a status on facebook attaching my name as one of my old student's moms. Beautiful and soul-filling parts to the day.
Every year I want to go to the Tulip Festival in Albany. Every year I request a lilac bush. And although we never make it into Albany and I never get my bush I am ever so grateful for the love that surrounds me in the variety of ways that it does. I am so damned lucky. I know.
But every year I make that call and send that flower basket gift to my mom. Except this year I didn't. And after I had my beyond-filling breakfast in bed, I curled up and felt wounded and weak. I didn't have a mother to call or send flowers to. And the wave of mourning washed over me again as if it was yesterday, and not 11 months ago. I napped....
I woke up to crazy hair and the amazing blessing that it was my second oldest's 24th birthday, so I was able to tuck that pain in my pocket and move on, distracting myself. As mothers do. We moved onto Cracker Barrel...and he and I had a deeply philosophical conversation about the difference between 24 and 45 and how the things that rattle your bones at 24 don't get you so worked up at 45, if you're lucky. Or at least you have figured out what issue(s) rattle you the most and you tackle those instead of e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g being so overwhelming, unfair and unjust.We moved onto some shoe and clothing buying gifts at Target and then 16 Handles, frozen yogurt, for the girls and Roger and Starbucks coffee for Nick and me. Then home for singing over lemon bars and bringing Nick back to his place. Beautiful and soul-filling parts to the day.
And now I should be grading papers and readying myself for my final push of paperwork for the teacher evaluation stuff that is due Wednesday. But this must have out.
Not having your mom on Mother's Day... no matter how close you weren't...makes it all shift. It can't be the same. It shouldn't be the same. It isn't the same. There is a hole, regardless of whether I believe in heaven or not, and I do. It's different not having her here for me to call, to text, to visit, to see, to hug. And since we are coming up, in the next few weeks, on the 'year-ago' downward spiral of memories of her fight with lung cancer, I feel like it is all raw again.
And I wasn't expecting that. I thought I had gotten past all this. But here it is. And it must have out.
And although I embrace the cards, the gifts, the letters, ...the wine!...from my own kids, I have now moved into a painful portion of my life where Mother's Day will forever be different. And it doesn't matter that I'm 45 and I don't get so worked up about how 'messed up the world is' like I did when I was 24, I do still get worked up that my mother isn't here anymore.
And I guess that is a good thing to get worked up about.
But I AM a fortunate momma who has a balance of Wonderful in her life. I have 4 amazing kids who loved spoiling me today in the forms of loud shrill "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!" every few minutes (Kath); making the brunch (husband and Alex); spent the day with me as his birthday too and brought the shared gift of Merlot (Nick); went in on the wine, wrote a beautiful message and texted all day just to 'check in' (Chris). The answers to the girls questionnaires about me made me giggle from "How old is mom?" "25." Thanks Kath. To "what is mom's favorite outfit?" "Her Fahrenheit 451 t-shirt and jeans." (I should post the questions and answers in another post. They will make you giggle too.)
I am fortunate. But Mother's Day, as I realized today, will never be the same, and I will just need to move on, embracing the good, just like life.every.single.day, and moving on to work on what I can work on and perhaps fix, just as mothers do. Just as mothers do.