Even though I am a mother of three and am thankful for my blessings every single day, Mother’s Day isn’t a special day for me. Hearing and seeing the words are like a tiny punch in the gut, every single time. To me, Mother’s Day is a day when I should celebrate my mother. And she isn’t here for me to be able to do that.
I lost my mom when I was 18. Right smack dab in the middle of the “I am a jerk and treat you horribly” stage. I held on to that regret for a very long time. However, now that I am a mother myself I know that she recognized it for what it was- a stage. A natural right of passage, a college freshman exercising her independence. She knew that I wouldn’t have talked to her like that if I didn’t love her more than anyone else in the world. I was just beginning to come around and then she passed away suddenly. We were robbed of the stage where I get to apologize and grow to become best friends. However, that isn’t my greatest regret.
I marvel at all that I have been through without her here on Earth. Graduating college, working a job I didn’t love (hearing her say “I told you so” every step of the way), getting married, getting pregnant, raising my first child, raising twins, navigating adult life, relationships, and every other little thing along the way. I missed her every single day, but I also accepted that it is what it is and held my head high.
And now, here I am, a mother of three with the greatest regret of all.
While there is nothing I can do to change it, and nothing I could have done differently, my greatest regret is that she isn’t here with her grandchildren. I never would have imagined that now, in my adult life with my own family unit established, I would miss her more than ever. My mother was a woman who lived for family. When my father was dying, the first thing she said to me was “who is going to walk you down the aisle?” She would have adored these children. I can’t give her the gratification of calling her for motherly advice or leaning on her when I need her most. I can’t return the love by letting her love on her grandchildren. My heart shatters whenever I think about how much she would have loved these children. They would have been her world, and she theirs.
I know I am living the life she would have wanted for me, and the best gift I can give her now is to do my darnedest to teach my kids about her and my dad, to shower them with love as they taught me to do, and to embrace every second of my fragile time with them. She wouldn’t want me to be sad today; she would want me to celebrate what she taught me was of utmost importance- family.
I used to just block this day out, treating it as just another day. However, now I am a mom too and I can’t ignore it. I usually take things in stride, but now it hits me harder than I ever would have imagined. Perhaps I am just overly sentimental because I’m so darn sleep-deprived, but I know that’s not it. As happy and grateful as I am, no matter where I go or what I do, I will always have this mother-sized hole. She will always have been robbed of meeting her grandchildren and they will always wonder why they can’t see her.
This year I will celebrate Mother’s Day. I don’t really like attention; I haven’t celebrated my birthday in years. However, I have three kids who, like me, will want to celebrate their mother. I owe it to them, and I owe it to my mom. We will buy a beautiful hanging plant, the one gift she requested every year, and I will tell my children all about why our “Grandma Wilma plant” is so special. I will remind them of how much she loves them and I will smile, because I know that she would have wanted nothing more than for me to be able to experience the precious gift of motherhood myself.
This Mother’s Day, please do me and everyone else who misses their beloved mothers a favor and take a moment to celebrate the most important mother- your mother.
Mom, I love you. You truly are “the wind beneath my wings.”