This is my first Mother’s Day as a mom, without a mom. Let me tell you, it’s bittersweet.
I lost my mother 16 years ago and I still get a little down when I see Mother’s Day ads on TV. Not because I haven’t coped, because after all this time I believe I have, but because it’s constantly in my face. I honestly don’t think that there is a day that passes where my mother doesn’t cross my mind, but it’s usually because something heartwarming reminds me of her, and it’s usually something really meaningful. Now that I have a child, those little reminders have intensified so much and in such sentimental ways. But over the years, the cheesy Mother’s Day commercials, ads, internet sales, etc. have seemed like constant noise reminding me to think about the loss of my mom with no real sentiment whatsoever. It’s as if they’re saying, “Remember, your mom is gone and Mother’s Day is right around the corner,” over and over, year after year. It feels a little annoying and even a touch insulting on some level, although that’s not sensible.
This year, as a new mom, I feel like I am a deer in headlights. It’s Mother’s Day and I am the mom. I am the one celebrated. One year soon, I am going to get the cute gimmicky cards, breakfast in bed, coupon books for favors, etc. It’s hard to process really. I’ve spent so many years making it a point to never forget the memories from my childhood where I did those things for my mom that now, I don’t feel prepared at all to take on that role myself. If she were here I would have so many questions for her, the list seems endless.
Over time, I know I will work through this and be able to own my own role as a mother, but for now, I don’t feel like a mom yet and Mother’s Day is reminding me of that as well. To me, a mom is my mom. The memory of her from when I was a kid in the 90’s. Her style, her hair, her laugh, and her dedication to being involved in my sister and I’s lives. She could grow anything, make anything, and was always ready to go do anything. I am not her. I am just beginning my journey into motherhood and I have so much to learn.
I fall more and more in love with my son every day but I don’t think it will be until he verbally, and with clear understanding, calls out to me- “mom,” that it will sink in that I am a mother and all that that means. That I will be the image for him as my mom was for me. For now, the cute “mama” I hear come out of his mouth makes my heart welt up for a moment, even though he doesn’t know the meaning yet. It’s a feeling of the deepest love mixed with pure desperation that I will get to experience his life alongside him, far longer than my mother did with me.
That’s just it, Mother’s Day is scary this year. It’s a reality check on so many levels. Solidifying my personal loss while making me feel like time is flying by already and I just want to freeze it. My son will be 9 months old by the time Mother’s Day arrives and I feel like yesterday he was a tiny newborn. I know how it feels to so intensely miss someone and long for their presence, that thinking about time passing can sometimes feel as if I am falling and scrambling to catch hold of anything that can stop me… but, you just can’t let yourself get wrapped up in those feelings, you have to let go. Time will always feel like it passes too quickly, which is why I consciously make a choice to celebrate the memories of my mother rather than sink into the pain of her loss.
At the end of the day, I cannot wait to be on the receiving end of Mother’s Day traditions in the very near future. Even though this year is surreal, I cannot wait for handmade cards, breakfast in bed that is messy, macaroni necklaces, coupon books for hugs and cuddles, and whatever else my little creative boy will come up with one day. I will walk through this new season with my head up, not fearing the unknown, and embracing the blessings of today. The important thing to remember this Mother’s Day, or any other hard day, is that nothing can ever block the light of God’s everlasting love and the miracle of the love of a child.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25