Monday, May 9, 2011

Thoughts for Mother's Day

I have a pretty fantastic Mom.  We joke that she doesn't have an ounce of sympathy, and for general aches and pains, that's true.  We've learned that her nursing capabilities have gotten better with age, but she's still a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps sort of girl.

She was always an advocate for school--and would often send you even if you felt like garbage, but I think that's mostly due to Lil' Bro's ability to vomit on command.  (I still maintain he didn't attend enough of fourth grade to have passed.)

She believes in working and doing things well.  And I believe that she is the reason I love to read as much as I do.  She always read to us, and my favorite memories of grade school include Book Fairs.  Of course, that's also her fault.  She would go to parent/teacher conferences and then bring home books from the book fair for us.  I might have picked a few out on my own, but it was always better when she did the choosing, because I ended up with books that were outside of my comfort zone (that I always loved).

But I think I really started valuing my mother more when I began my journey to join her club.

She done amazingly well for someone without sympathy.  She gets that Mother's Day is especially hard, but finds ways to make up for it.  She has cried with me over the child I should have had and the grandchild she would've held.  And she's made herself accessible even though, as she's said, she doesn't always understand the situation.

I'm grateful to her for so many reasons.  But this year, I'm most thankful I've had a mom who hasn't made me feel like I had to do this on my own.

I want to honor her, but I love that she doesn't want me to feel tortured in the process.

A few years ago, I read a letter in Dear Abby.  A daughter was writing because she was upset when her mother refused to stand in a church service honoring mothers.  The daughter felt that her mother deserved that honor; however, when she questioned her mother, the mother simply replied, "I do not want to contribute to the hurt many women feel on this day.  So I will remain in my seat."  The daughter believed the response was ridiculous and asked Abby to explain that Mother's Day was a day meant to honor all mothers--and hers deserved the accolades.

Abby's response was firm.  She believed that the mother was correct in her response.  In fact, she praised the mother as a sympathetic soul who understood how difficult days like mother's day are for women who have lost families or who have been unable to start one.

I don't know who that woman was.  I do know that I would write her a thank-you card if I could.  I would tell her how badly it hurts to watch women stand in a select club I keep trying to join with limited success.  I would tell her how much I want to scream that I am a mother, too--just one who never got to hold her baby.  And while there are probably a large cache of people who believe you aren't a mother until you actually give birth, there are several of us who know otherwise.

I just can't believe I'm the only one.  I think there are women who specifically avoid holidays like Mother's Day because they don't know how to process honor and grief in the same breath--single women, infertile women, women who have lost children and/or pregnancies.

I've been blessed.  My Mom makes that easy.  So just one day after "her" day, I'd like to give her a little bit of praise, because I think she's pretty awesome.


Big Al said...

I know it feels lonely sometimes. Rest assured that you're never alone, sweetie. Your friends and family, etc, we've got you surrounded :)
Last year at work, several of the families of my residents brought Mother's Day gifts for all of the staff- even the men. "You are mothers every day to every person here and we want you to know just how much that means." I believe that teachers are mothers, too- it may not be as obvious at the high school level.
Hang in there :)

Big Al said...

Previous comment was only intended to agree with your statement that it is not just giving birth that makes a mother. After all, we all know women who have given birth, yet are not mothers in any real sense of the word.
"Wife and mother" sometimes refers to taking care of the same person, anyway ;)