Yesterday was Mother's Day. I was going to write about how much nicer this holiday is now that I'm a mom. (We don't do much, but it's usually an I-feel-really-lucky kind of day.) But then I remembered what it was like before I was a mom. And I thought about all of the people I love and the ones I don't even know who maybe loathe this holiday as much as I did for a period of time.
I remember that one year after my mom died, a co-worker asked me for suggestions for a great brunch place in the Venice/Ocean Park area (where I was living at the time) where he could take his mom for mother's day. I wanted to spit hot coffee in his face and then go home and lie in bed for two weeks. I would walk around town and see pastel-colored signage for Mother's Day gift ideas. I'd see vomit-inducing TV commercials that announced, "Tell your mother how much you love her with a blah blah from blah." I'd want to scream at the screen, "I can't TELL her ANYTHING, you arsehole." You couldn't go into a store without Mother's Day being shoved down your throat.
I was about thirty years-old when I lost my mom and I felt like shite on the bottom of your shoe for years. But when I think about a friend's situation, I feel like shite mixed with rotten eggs. My friend's sister died when she was in her late thirties. She had two children who were under the age of fourteen. I had my mom until I was thirty. How do you deal with being a motherless grade schooler and teenager? And how does my friend contently celebrate mother's day with her own children, knowing that her niece and nephew lost their everything way too soon? And how does her mother celebrate this holiday without mourning her eldest daughter?
It's f"cked up.
So on this mother's day, I didn't skip through wildflowers, eat brunch at a fancy restaurant and write poetry about being a mom. Instead, I squeezed Sabine every chance I got. And I thought about my mom every chance I got. And then I thought about all the people who've lost their mothers. And all the people who've lost children. And also, all the people who desperately want to be mothers but are not able to (because at one point, I was there, too).
Here's a great NPR piece that is the perfect accompaniment to this post: StoryCorps: Children Remember Their Mother's Influence. And it might just break your heart (which is okay because it's the day after the holiday).