Sunday, May 10, 2009

When Mother's Day Doesn't Seem to Apply...

For a number of years after my mother died, my dad would take me out to dinner on Mother's Day and give me flowers.

I accepted graciously. After all, dinner and flowers are always nice, especially with your dad.

But it always upset me, too. I'm not a mother, and back then I didn't even have Rick's boys on loan. When your biological clock is ticking, that becomes a sticky wicket.

And, I didn't have a mother anymore. The woman whose pearls I tugged on, who cheered my successes, urged me on, help nurse my wounds, wasn't there anymore.

It was a tough day for me. We'd go to a restaurant and see happy families eating out -- sometimes two or three generations. Talk about the double whammy. The two things I didn't have -- kids and mom -- were all around me. And it made me almost impossibly sad. Even now, writing this, my eyes fill with tears as I recall that sadness.

Yet, it meant so much to him. And back then I couldn't figure out why.

I think I know now.

For dad, celebrating Mother's Day with their only child was a way to remember mom. It was a way he could honor her, celebrate her, perhaps speak of her in a different way. After all, our family never met a holiday it didn't like and Mother's Day was her day.

I suspect if I had shared my feelings of sadness, we would have talked about them or perhaps even chosen a less family centered venue. I would have understood that in giving me flowers, he wasn't trying to replace her, but honor her, through her daughter.

We could have done it better -- but I wanted to protect him.

It wasn't until many years after his death, in May, when I was in counseling with a very wise soul named Sylvia and carping about my upcoming Mother's Day apprehension that I began to see.

And one of the places she lives is inside me.

Well, duh.

I still have a hard time in May, but it's a lot better. Greg always remembers and has done so from fairly early on in our life together (un-aided, I might add, which makes it all the more meaningful.)

And while this year I can't send flowers or a card to Mom's sister Iris, who died last summer, I can salute the other moms of the world.

To Rick's Mom, Kitty: You've given me the best gift of them all. There aren't enough words in my heart to express my thanks.

To the moms of my friends: Thanks for sharing our sons or daughters with the world.

To the moms and grandmas I know who manage families, jobs, kid activities and more -- often under great stress and challenge: Thanks for giving to them now, for they will learn how to pass that gift along to others.

To the moms and grandmas I don't know, but do the same as those I do: The world has or will benefit from the contributions of your children.

I send Mother's Day greeting to you all and salute you for all you have brought to our world. Thank you.

Please don't forget your comments on all posts till the end of the month are entered in my "crystal drawing" as first mentioned in this post.


beth said...

oh jeanie....this brought tears to my eyes...your story, your feelings and you celebrating all the moms out there are wonderful !!!

paris parfait said...

I got all teary reading this post. Big hugs to you, Jeanie. And I'll be seeing you next month! xo

robin bird said...

as you may have known this made me cry, for you, for your mom who is missing out on all the "jeannie moments" of your life. The words you have written here are so completely honest and for that i love you. i hope greg is doing well this weekend, isolation is no fun :( but i am glad for the prognosis!!

BONNIE K said...

This was a beautiful post. Very touching.

Cheryl Rice said...

On my husband's suggestion, I visited my mom's grave this weekend for the first time in several years. Although I think of her often, and miss her daily, her grave isn't a place I like to spend time at...but Dick reminded me that my mom loved to play tricks on us, by throwing out pennies for us to "discover" in the grass. So we went to the cemetery and scattered coins in her memory. I hope kids find them, as we did when we were young, and thrill to the sudden fortune thrust upon them!!

Anonymous said...

Just happened by your post and your writing brought tears to my eyes. I lost both my mom and stepmom in June and August respectively last year. And although I have 2 girls myself, I miss my moms. Thanks for sharing so eloquently. Virginia B.

Linda said...

Everyone has said it so well in their comments.... and you are so full of a mother's love.... to give to the world.... You are a blessing.

Herzblatt said...

My friend Jeanie,
it makes me so sad reading your post and I know, what you feel, because I know a lot of people in a similar situation like you are.
But I think you have got sooo many wonderful great friends and such a lovely husband that perhaps it can console you.
If you had lived around the corner I would have invited you and Rick to be together with us yesterday and my children would have taken you to their heart!!!!!

Joanne Huffman said...

lovely post...fullk of family understanding and inclusion.


Shelley said...

What a beautiful post. It touched my you do, my lovely friend.

JOYCE said...

What a wonderful tribute to both your mom and your dad. Sometimes the sad times with our loved ones mean more than the happy ones. oohh, I'm getting all goosebumpy!

Mary Timme said...

Moms are the best and they do live on in us. I like to think some of the best of my mom lives on in me.

anno said...

Jeanie, this is such a beautiful post, so tender and generous and perceptive and kind -- just as I imagine your parents must have been.

Relyn said...

Oh, Jeanie. I do understand. At least a little.

We were married for almost 10 years before Sloane was born. For the longest time we chose not to have a child and thought we never would. I think you'd be amazed at the criticism people felt they had a right to offer. Then, we wanted a child and thought we wouldn't be able to have one due to medicalish stuff. And then. She came. And our life is richer and better for it. But, each year I think of how I felt and how my friends now are feeling. And I think of how we each, all of us women, offer mothering to the people in our lives. We all deserve a special Mother's Day blessing.

And, I wish a special one on you. And I thank God that you now can be a mother to anohter woman's child. What a blessing that is.

There is always room for more love. Isn't there?

jet1960 said...

Very lovely post, Jeanie. It made my heart ache for your sadness. From what I have read of your parents in your posts and what I know of you also, I can tell that their special qualities do indeed live on in you in a wonderful blend of both of them. And now you are sharing and blessing others, just like they did.

Hugs to you.

Jeanne said...

I miss my Mom so very much too
Love you

Dawn said...

Well I cried when I read your post too, you would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it - Jeanie you are so special to me and your mum and dad will be smiling at your words now, your mum will always be with you and Rick's mum is lucky to have you as you are to have her xxx big hugs gf

Quiltmoose - Dagmar said...

Thank you for this beautiful post, Jeanie! And it brought tears to my eyes, too. I am glad Greg is doing okay. All the best to you and your family!


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