Coming to Terms with Mother's Day

So once again I face the inherent emotional conflict that has come to be Mother's Day for me.

In some ways, it's beyond perfect. Patrick went out of his way to make me way ideal, taking care of me, an incredible gift that he knew I really wanted (more on that later), sleeping in, coffee, a haircut, a nap, relaxation. The Hanafin family has a Mother's Day Brunch tradition; for the last several years it's been at the Lake Elmo Inn, and that was delicious. Beatrix got me a board book about animal moms ("I picked it out for myself!"), which I know is Clara validating how important reading with Beatrix is to me. I'm trying really hard to even think about work and domestic tasks that are stacked up, and to just enjoy the day. Were the story to end here, it would be lovely.

But it doesn't. There's always a hole in the day where my mother should be. There's the societal expectation that I *should* probably be done grieving, when the truth is that I just grieve in a different way, a way that often sneaks up on me and strikes me unawares. I am starting to know more people who are losing parents, and even some that are losing children — an unimaginable grief — and when we talk about how we feel, I'm always struck by the fact that out experiences are so universally the same.

With others that our motherless, particularly, we discuss how it feels to have lost the person in your life who knew you the longest, with whom you always had that relationship of interwoven strength and vulnerability. With those who are moms, we talk about how we wish we had asked so many more questions of what we were like when we were young; we commiserate about how jealous we are when other people's mothers take care of the kids for the night or spoil the kids with a special holiday outfit; most of all, we feel terrible that our children don't have those grandmothers that by rights they should have.

There isn't any way to magically fix this, and in some ways, that's the hardest part. The people in my life work their hardest to try to make it better for me, by giving Beatrix grandmother-like experiences, by letting me know that they remember my mom and are thinking of me, by working really hard to make my Mother's Day lovely. In no way do I mean to seem ungrateful, because I see these things and they mean SO much to me. But I miss my mom terribly, and I want her here, and there's not a day in my life when I wonder if there wasn't something different I could have done to have her still with us.


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