Yep, Mother’s Day is just around the corner…again. Funny how it sneaks up on us motherless daughters (or daughters who have mothers who choose not to be present). The day that, for me, is often filled with sadness, gratitude, joy, and regret all rolled up in a ball has snuck up on me for almost 70 years…well, 69 to be exact.
My mother died when I was eight (you do the math). On Mother’s Day when I was young, my dad and I planted the windows boxes my mother loved. An older lady at my church invited me to the Mother/Daughter Banquet (they were a big thing in the 50’s). I can’t remember feeling particularly sad on Mother’s Day (or the week preceding) but I always felt “different” and being different wasn’t necessarily a good thing when you were a kid.
Much later, as a mother of three kids, I enjoyed the usual burnt pancakes, handmade cards, and popsicle stick gifts kids give mothers on their special day. It was the only day of the year I didn’t have to cook which made it really special. I didn’t think too much about being motherless during those years. Too busy wrapped up in being a mother myself I guess.
It was only later, after the kids were grown and I began to consider the ramifications of being a motherless daughter of a motherless daughter (my mother died at 34; her mother also died in her 30’s), that I became more introspective on Mother’s Day.
I can’t say that I miss HER because I barely remember my mother. But I miss the IDEA of having grown up with a mom. Living far away from my grown children, I also miss being celebrated as a mom and celebrating my daughters, step-daughters, and daughter in law.
Reminding myself that Mother’s Day is just once a year helps as does not dwelling on the retail extravaganza that proceeds it. I usually buy pink carnations in memory of my mom (they covered her casket) and I make an effort to do something I enjoy. I’ve never felt like a victim of my past circumstances. In fact, I think about how I am the person I am today (who I like most of the time) because of my life experiences.
As a motherless daughter, I learned:
- to be independent
- how to be more resilient and strong in the face of adversity
- to have empathy for those who have experienced loss.
What about you? What have the losses in your life taught you? How are you different either because of or in spite of your experiences? How will you remember your mother this Mother’s Day? How will you take care of yourself?
Happy Mother’s Day (if you’re a mother), Happy Sunday if you’re not.
Winnie and Mershon Horn — Mother and daughter.