In two hours, I’ll be able to say I survived another Mother's Day without my own. For the first time in the four Mother's Days since she’s been gone, I had to acknowledge the holiday.
In years past, I’ve gone through all the obligatory motions: remind my husband to get a card for his mother, wish friends with children a happy day, and attend a Mother's Day meal with my mom’s family to honor my grandmother. Not that she doesn’t deserve to be honored – she’s an incredible woman and I love her very much. But sitting at that table always leaves me feeling a little empty. Z and I sit across from each other, shifting uncomfortably from time to time, barely making eye contact, and I know we’re thinking the same thing.
She’s not here.
I’ve spent the last few Mother's Days primarily in bed, cycling through various stages of grief that should’ve passed years ago. I’d leave the house to take T’s mom to dinner or visit briefly with my grandma, but then I’d come home and retreat to bed again. I’d like the million Facebook statuses that show up about fantastic mothers and would keep my jealous thoughts to myself. And then, finally, the day would end and I’d close my eyes, grateful for it to be over.
Then I became a mother. There’s no lying in bed moping all day with a six month old in the house… apparently, it’s not conducive to their schedules. There’s getting up at 7, feeding, playing, crawling, napping, bathing, dressing, smiling, giggling, and that’s all before 10.
T asked me the other day what I would do if my mom came back for 24 hours. The thought of that was enough to break me down, and I cried. I finally managed to choke out an answer – the first thing that came to mind because I don’t typically let myself think about things like that. I’d hand her E, and then I’d lay my head in her lap and just breathe. I’d take in every minute and pay attention to how it felt, because it would be THE moment in my life when I could say, “I have it all.”
I’ve always had a lot; my blessings in life have been many. However, I now know the greatest blessing, and that’s my child. E has brought so much joy into my life in her six months here. I feel as though I can finally understand my mom’s love for Zach and me, and it’s overwhelming.
As I lay here typing while leaning on T, I ask him when this will get easier. He tells me he’s not sure, but maybe someday. We both know it’s always going to hurt, although we don’t say so. In spite of the tears that keep falling, I feel optimistic. Instead of feeling a little like an orphaned child today, I felt the love of my daughter. Instead of feeling like I was floating, I felt anchored.
Mother's Day as a child without my mother is painful, but Mother's Day as a mother with my child is incredible. It’s amazing what a baby’s smile can do.