So Mother’s Day is coming up.
I’ve been doing really well this past week or two with missing Mom. And just when I thought I’d hit a good rhythm, this holiday has popped right on up.
I work at a fitness studio, and we’re currently running a little promotion marketed as the perfect gift for the occasion. There are signs up all over the studio that read, “GIVE MOM MORE LIFE.” I mean come ON.
The thing about Mother’s Day, and holidays like it, is that it’s not a huge deal. This is what they call a “Hallmark Holiday”. Actually, I just did some research and discovered that the first Mother’s Day as we know it, in 1908, received the financial backing from a department store! So there, I’m right, you’re wrong, end of blog post.
The thing is…
Who cares if it’s loosely tied to commercialism? What I didn’t tell you back there is that the woman who received the financial backing for her event, Anna Jarvis, was holding a Mother’s Day in honor of her own mom, who had actually already passed away. She wanted a way to honor her. I love that.
It was also intended to be a celebration of all mothers- for the sacrifices they make on behalf of their children, for their important place in society, and to give them recognition in a male-dominated culture. (Actually, y’all, go read this article. Mother’s Day is pretty badass.)
THIS is the kind of thinking that I go through leading up to Mother’s Day. It’s a constant back and forth of positives and negatives. Do I feel resentful? Am I devastated? Am I already embarrassed that I’ll have to hedge any questions from strangers about what I’m doing that day? Should I stay off social media that day? Should I avoid all restaurants and public places on Sunday? Should I still celebrate it? Should I take off work and let myself wallow? Should I try to find a buddy to hang out with instead? Should I go to work and pray to God no one talks about it?
Even now, I’m surrounded by signs and commercials that give me a little jab in the heart each time I see them.
So how do we handle these holidays? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s, Thanksgiving, Christmas… they all have the potential to just remind us of what we don’t have anymore. That sucks.
I’m going to do a few things.
I am going to reach out to the other people I know will be missing my mom that day. My Dad will be mourning the mother of his child. My Grammy will be missing her only baby girl. Their hurt is different from mine, but just as real and raw. And I think we’re better facing this together than all struggling silently on our own.
I’m going to think about my Mom. A lot! I am going to be so grateful for the years that I did have with her.
I am going to think about what she taught me, and the ways in which I’m becoming more like her every day. I am going to think about what she might say to me now. I am going to reminisce about past Mother’s Days.
I am also going to give myself a big challenge. This scares me so much, the thought of it just made me burst into tears while writing this. I want to talk to people about her. I want to have the courage to bring her up in conversations this Sunday. I’ve done this before on days like this, but it was always somewhat in secret. I would bring up my mom to strangers but not mention the fact that she’s… well, dead. If I didn’t use past tense, I could get away with it.
I don’t want to do that this year. I don’t want to pretend.
I might only be able to do it a couple times… but this day is for her. I don’t want to ignore her or pretend she didn’t exist.
Most importantly, I refuse to forget her. She was my best friend, and she still is- no matter how far apart we are now.
What do you do on these days? Have you found something that helps you? Did you find out the hard way something that hurts you? I’d love to hear.