Monday, May 13, 2013

mother's day

mother's day is hard.

I know, I have three beautiful wonderful children, who shower me with homemade gifts and pictures and kind words.  and a husband who always wants me to feel special as the mother of his children.  my mother's day is always filled with blessings.

But in my heart, I feel like mother's day should be a day of celebrating MY mother, not ME as a mother.  of course, if you talk to other people who have experienced loss, they'll have a different story.  If I was the one struggling with infertility, I'd want to be celebrating ME as a mother.  If I was the one who lost my child to SIDS or some other horrible reason, I'd feel robbed of the title of mother, especially on mother's day.

but it's not really fair to compare loss, is it.  I had a great conversation a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends, and we'd all experinced loss of a different kind: SIDS, miscarriage, loss of adoption right at the end, loss of my mother.  We started using phrases (or maybe even just thinking thoughts) like, "well, I can't even imagine losing a child who was already born." "well I can't even imagine not having my mom in my life!" you get the idea. It was all because we didn't want to discount anyone's feelings of loss.  but right then someone said, "no...we can't compare loss.  we've all felt the same types of feelings in the loss that seems greatest to us, and it's not something you can ever compare."

and that struck me...because I've compared.  I was mad at the lady, who was my mom's age, who told us that she knew exactly how we felt when my mom died, because her dad had just died.  and I felt like saying NO YOU DON'T!!!  If you lost your mom 25 years ago, you would know. your dad was OLD and he wasn't your MOM! and a girl needs her mom!!!  But I also go the other way...when people lose children I think I better not say anything to them because I've never felt that kind of loss before and at least I got ______________ with my mom, and my children are still here!

it's a constant battle in my heart, to validate my own feelings, but also not wanting to be "that lady" to anyone else experiencing loss.  but we are always comparing loss, aren't we, instead of just recognizing that it's the worst emotional pain anyone could possibly experience, no matter what the circumstance.  and because of all the different types of loss that revolve around motherhood, it's really pretty risky to put the HAPPY in front of the Mother's Day part.

Yesterday I tried really hard to just enjoy my role as a mother.  and my people were so good to me.  The forgave me for getting crabby (again) in the morning and nag-nag-nagging them to get their buns in gear and get ready for church.  They took me to eat at chipotle, my fave.  They gave me a nice long quiet nap with Steve, the take-your-pants-off-and-really-sleep type of nap.  They allowed me to cancel our walk to the park and instead work in the garden, getting it ready to add plants soon.  We got $1 jamocha shakes from Arby's for supper (don't judge.  we also ate fruit.) :) and snuggled up on the couch together to end the day.

and I felt blessed. really truly blessed.

but then the kids went to bed, I caught up on reading blogs, and suddenly all my feelings caught up with me.

my friend gave me a big hug first thing in the morning at church, like she does EVERY YEAR on mother's day, telling me that she was thinking about me.  and it was like I had to remove my heart from my body for a minute, because I wasn't ready to let myself feel yet.  and then later another friend sent me a little message to "motherless daughters" and I let myself cry, but only a few tears.  and then later we called my step-mom, and Steve's mom, and Steve's mom's mom, to wish them all a Happy Mother's Day, and I held it together, barely.

but once I made it to my bed, where it was dark and safe and quiet, all the feelings of the day that I'd stuffed down so far started leaking out in the form of tears.  and I just cried.  I cried and cried and could NOT stop for anything.  my sweet husband didn't say a word, and just held me while I cried for my mom.

I cried because I remember so many things about her.  I cried because I'm forgetting things about her.  I cried for the hand that was supposed to be on my forehead and wiping my tears at that very moment.  I cried for all the days that I've felt sick because no matter how old you are you still want your mom when you're sick.  I cried for the words of encouragement she gave me as a mother, making me feel like I was the best, even though I'd only just begun.  I cried for my kids who never even got to see that smile, and for the one who did, but wasn't old enough to remember.  I cried for all the times I think for a split second, "I should call my mom" before I realize I can't.  I cried for the fact that she never knew that I love to sew.  I cried for all the images I have in my head of her so sick.  so very sick.  I cried for the fact that sometimes that's still how I remember her. I cried for her light pink fingernails and always-too-long toenails. I cried for family game nights without her, for no more hilarious nights of watching her play Taboo.  I cried for my aunt who lost her sister and best friend.  I cried for my sisters who never got her in the room when their babies were born.  I cried for my brother and my sisters who never got or will get to have the MOB or MOG role filled at their weddings.  I cried for the memories of coming home to her house, with seasonal decorations out, and arms open for a hug.  I cried for all the people she could have brought closer to Jesus, because she was just really good at that.  I cried for the smell of her coffee breath and mugs on every single flat surface of that house.  I cried because I don't like coffee and I wish I did bc that was such a big part of her.  I cried because I don't look like her and no one will ever say "you must be Sharon's daughter!" like they do to my sister.  and I cried because it's not getting better, and it's not getting easier, even after six and a half years.

and I cried because mother's day was supposed to be about HER, not me.

and so that day I compared my loss to everyone else's, just for a moment, and think about how my loss is worse than everyone else's loss in the whole entire world.  because to me, it is.  and I allowed myself to realize how very lonely it is to not have a mother on mother's day.  and I hope that everyone else who feels loss of any kind allowed themselves the same luxury.  We're allowed to feel hurt, we're allowed to feel jipped, no matter what our story is.  I am one very blessed mother, and I'll always love mother's day for that.

but I'll also allow myself to cry, for the memories, the hurts, the wishes, and the love that I'm missing out on.

miss you mom, on Mother's Day and every day.


Autumn said...

Thanks for sharing, Andrea. Lots of extra reasons to be grateful for my crazy and beautiful Christy yesterday. And, I agree; it doesn't matter how old you are. If you're sick, you want your mom. Every time I'm sick, I offer to fly my mom to California. And, because moms are so awesome, she is always ready and willing to come.

raarms said...

We are allowed to feel hurt an jipped. Sooooo wish I was Jesus and could take your hurt away. Love you MUCH, friend.