Mothers Day was yesterday.
And it was awesome.
Along with so many revelations I’ve had being a mother, cherishing everything, is one of them. In the 20 months since Shine has been born, I’ve awoken to countless possibilities. Good ones and tragic ones. I’ve become more aware of the absolute randomness and fragility of life. Things I only knew before in the abstract. Perhaps, I still know them in the abstract…but I’ve learned to fear and respect them I guess.
Yesterday FELT like Mothers Day to me. I felt special. I feel singled-out and valued and celebratory. The boys brought me new tumblers and a coffee to go mug, I worked in the garden and became more like my mother, I ate my weight in my husbands french toast, I bought a guinea pig.
I Mothers Dayed all damn day and it was glorious.
But in my revelry, there was a sadness. And I wish it hadn’t been there and I could just relax and enjoy MY family. But hearts don’t often work like that, and they never shut off when you tell them to.
There’s a girl who gave birth right before I had Shine, to a sweet little boy whose birthday fell right between hers and her husbands. She was a twin, a wife, a business partner and she just wanted to be a mom. She gave birth to her son and kissed him and nursed him and named him and passed away shortly after of a rare case of complicated preeclampsia. Her story stayed present during my labor. Not fear for myself, but the ultimate gift she gave, to become a mother. My good friends adult son passed away last year. A son she would talk about every time I sat with her. She was proud and loving of him. Several of my girlfriends have lost their mothers, some of them recently…I just, finally SAW just how devastating this day can be for some. The ones left behind to remember. Watching floral bouquets line their Facebook feeds and athletes send love during basketball games.
I always say that a Mothers love is universal. It transcends lines and rules. I trust other Moms, I know I can be trusted to Mom their children in the event I would have to. I know we’re all exhausted and proud and probably feeling guilty and needing caffeine and a massage. I know we love those adorable little bastards more than anything, literally more than life itself. (I’m being exclusionary to “good” moms–not toxic ones) So if Mothers Love is universal, I think that Mothers Pain must be too. You feel it every time you hear a tragic story and say “I couldn’t imagine.”
No, you COULD imagine. And that’s the source of all your worry, fear and anxiety. Knowing the biggest pain and worst fear you COULD imagine, another Mom is somewhere living. It stops your heart a bit. It makes you think things, we are designed not to think, to stay sane. To survive. Those thoughts have taught me to cherish–everything. This entire existence, that I took for granted for far too long. This toddler taking up space in my bed, my Mom with the unwanted items and outdated advice, the husband–no comment, the house that’s eating us all alive–
I never want to be complacent in the idea that I “deserve” all this and more. That life is unfair, why don’t we have a pool, nothing will ever go wrong, I’m special and invincible–ANY of that. Even in my most light and free moment, do I not think that way. All that I have is a gift. It was given, it can be taken, and I must be grateful in every second that is possible. If I believe that we are all divinely connected (and I do) then that mothers pain, is my pain. Her loss is all of our loss. Etc. The root of empathy.
When I hug and kiss Shine, I can’t tell you how often I say, “This one is for ______,” and I fill in the name of the mother who never got to be one. The family that lost their child. When I hug Shine, I am all mothers hugging their children. When I appease my Mother, I do it in the spirit of all daughters without their mothers. When I don’t want to Mom, I remind myself that it is a privilege. And a fleeting one. And I’m blessed with the task.
I don’t know that the world needs that. Or that it is of any comfort to their loved ones-but I remember and honor these losses through the love I get to show my family and through that, I continue their course of unconditional love for their child/my child.
Happy Mothers Day.