“Happy Mother’s Day!” strangers who see me out with my kids tell me, “Thanks!” I reply to them. I try to end this well-meaning, simple, polite greeting and exchange between strangers quickly. I check my phone or talk to my kids, just advert my eyes enough so that the conversation ends there. So no further questions will be asked and no more pressing for details will happen. Because I know all too well how the conversation goes if I don’t do that.
“Are you spending the day with your mom? What did you get your mom for Mother’s Day?” Those questions stop me in my tracks. I always take a deep pause, looking the person speaking to me in their eyes as they go on and on about gifts or brunch or whatever else. I wonder if they can tell in my face how uncomfortable I am. How I’m desperate for them to stop talking. That I’m looking for a way to change the conversation and step away. They usually can’t and so the conversation continues on longer than necessary. I usually quickly smile and change the subject, and walk away. Their day will comtinue on normally. That conversation will be forgotten quickly throughout their day. For me, on the other hand, this conversation will stay on repeat in my mind throughout the day.
I will replay old memories of Mother’s Day pasts on a loop in my mind like a slide show. I will remember the way, as a child looking up at her, I so deeply admired and adored her.
To be a mom on Mother’s Day without a relationship with your own mother is a difficult, intricate braid of emotions that layer over and through each other all weekend long.
The public reminder that
1- I am a mother
2-don’t speak to my mother
3- all the shit in between
When people make comments like, “your mom must be so proud” or “you’re a great mom you must have a great one too,” there’s a sting. It doesn’t burn as much as it use to, but it’s there.
It’s the same quiet, dull pain that I feel when I see a picture of a friend that has passed away. It’s a sweet sting of happier times, beautiful memories, and the all to present current pain mixed together and poured deep into my chest. It burns in that subtle way. If you can’t relate you’re lucky.
Now, I am not writing this having a pity party for myself. No, not at all. In fact, I’m about to be celebrated by my beautiful family that I created all on my own and the joy that they gives me outweighs any shadow of lingering sadness, the scale has been weighted in my favor and it will continue to tip further and further over until it is so far above the other that it’s just a distant memory. It might even pour over and completely drown out the other one day.
So this Mother’s Day, don’t wish every women you see a Happy Day because for many women it’s not a happy one. We are with dealing with miscarriage, infant death, infertility, death of our mothers, or the memories of a toxic filled relationship from the past.
A simple smile and a “have a wonderful weekend” will do.
Thanks in advance,
Moon Mamas everywhere