So there is a reason I didn't write about Mother's Day before now. I both love and hate that day. I love the idea of having a day set aside on the calendar each year to remind everyone in our lives to celebrate us mommies and all we stand for.
I am fortunate enough to have a family that treats me really quite nicely that day. I am always spoiled on Mother's Day. And I truly love it. I love sleeping in until 8-ish because my body is so used to getting up by 7 every other morning, it doesn't recognize the occasion and therefore doesn't let me sleep any longer. I devour the strawberry crepes Fireman and the kids place on my lap while they all lay on my bed and huddle as close as they can to me. The coffee gets spilled and the food is cold...the flowers are beautiful. The presents are a heartfelt gesture- the homemade song from my 13 year old, the coupons for chores from my middle child, and the hand print from Cissy made my heart sing. Fireman even hung up his frugal hat for the day and splurged on a really cool car adapter for my iTouch, the kind that has to be professionally installed! Yes, I know, I am spoiled. For one day, anyway.
Every year on that Sunday, no matter how wonderfully I am being treated, or how much love I am shown by my adoring family, there is always a sense of loneliness and loss that's creeps into my heart. It starts the day before. As my thoughts drift to the festivities of the next day, while I am finishing up the house so I don't have a load of laundry staring me in the face on what is supposed to be a day of no chores. As I go through the motions...I am suddenly very aware of a growing throb in the pit of my stomach. Throbbing that doesn't stop until it is very much at the center of my chest and has made completely sure it has consumed my every thought. I know it is easily angered at my attempt to try and stuff it by the way it turns to a sort of disabling nausea. Just enough to make me unable to eat, unable to sit still and unable to feel any sort of contentment. It sits in the bottom of my stomach and rises and falls throughout the day into my throat. It gnaws at me, demanding attention.
And I know exactly what it needs. Every year. Same time and place. And I know deep down it doesn't go away on its own or because I tell it fervently that it is not welcome. It's like one of my kids- it needs attention. Raw attention. And it needs it at its convenience, not mine. By the end of the day, with the all the physical chores done, I decided to lean into this throb that continued to lie in my gut. I retreated to my closet. I sat on the floor next to the old paint spot. And I cried. I cried the ugly cry.
I miss her more every year. I need answers only she can give me. I need the unconditional love only she shared with me. I am jealous of everyone else whose Mother's Day plans involve their own Mother. I remember her Mother's Day routines. I miss them. I miss her. I ache for the warm touch only her hands could deliver. I am forever empty in the place only she could fill. My tears don't stop as easily as they started. I hate to lose myself in this seemingly endless pain and torture. Thinking my way out never helps it ease away. Tears do, though. A lot of them. And I slowly feel my way out.
It is as if my Mother is hearing my cries and actually feels my heartache, when my daughter walks into the closet. "Mommy? Why are you crying?" She sits down and holds my soaked snotty hand in hers. She waits until I can talk. "I miss my Mommy" I tell her. I start crying again. I hate to upset my children, but they are all very aware that their Mommy, doesn't have a Mommy. She sits quietly while I sob. I think she sat there for about 5 full minutes not moving, not squirming, not asking for anything. Just being. I realized the throb had dulled a bit. So I looked up and stared into Cissy's brown eyes. She smiled back at me and I pulled her little body into mine for a hug. I suddenly felt something I hadn't felt before. This is what I felt like to my Mommy for 23 years. It made me smile from the inside out. The throb lessened even more.
Yes, I realized the moment I gave life to my first born how my Mother's love was like no other. But, the love and tenderness exchanged from a Mother and daughter is really just different. Not to be judged, just different.
So, at that moment, I could relate in a way I had not seen before. I became very conscious of what my Mommy actually felt each time I hugged and held her. I am aware now of what that felt like to her. I am so thankful I was able to give her that kind of irreplaceable unconditional love in return, even if it was just for a short time. I take such solace in knowing she felt that from me in her times of need, especially in her final days here with our family.
I could feel the throb descend into an ache. The nausea subsided a bit. I held my little girl and my little girl held me. It was a quiet exchange of raw love. I enjoyed the feeling of her warm soft skin against my neck and arms. I savored the thought of what pure joy my little girl gives me daily and related it to the joy I must have given to my mommy.
This is what it feels like to be a mommy and to have a mommy. My feelings range different throughout the year, and can strike at anytime. This Mother's Day was so special in that I was actually made aware of something I had never thought of before...who and what I was to my mommy is now so clear and tangible to me, it has made my role as a mommy carry a whole different meaning.
I will always miss her, but this past Mother's Day, I truly felt a little closer to her than I had before. I like to believe she was giving me a Mother's Day gift all her own. Through my daughter she was showing me that love, our love, will never die.
Thank you, mommy!