Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mother's Day 2.0

The first year of motherhood is behind me and now that the second has begun, it is once again time for me to decide how I feel about Mother's Day, the Hallmarkiest of holidays.

My decision is to make peace with it. No grand expectations, no drowning in a sea of overwrought emotions. Dress up, go to church and treat it like any given Sunday.

I started on this piece several days before the big day and had all kinds of internal battles: should I focus on my history with my own mother and how she made the day feel like a grand test of how much I loved her, or should I write about my ambivalence in seeking to celebrate myself? Should I mourn the slow loss of my mother or the actual loss of others who had been like mothers to me?

Or should I just let the day pass, the feelings recede and just come back to it later?

I chose to revisit this piece to address some of those emotions. Yes, Mother's Day was bittersweet for years when my mother was well and made me feel like I was the only child who really did not appreciate her. Perhaps that was all in my head, except it was not when I think back to the last Mother's Day before we I really began to recognize that something was wrong. She refused to speak to me because of an argument over something trivial and stupid, and then she repeated that same behavior several times that year...and it took another year for anyone else to believe that this was unusual.

Then there is the irony that as I should be excited to celebrate my first year of motherhood, she continues her slow decline. Milestones that I might want her to acknowledge with me, she cannot even notice. In the years since her diagnosis, but more intensely this year, I have missed her.

But she is still with me, so that is what I chose to celebrate. Every year I could lament what has been lost forever, or every year I can chose to remember for her. So that morning, we made it to church on time and that evening at dinner, she ate all of her meal. Best Mother's Day yet.

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