Mother’s Day is coming up. I have two beautiful daughters to celebrate with this year. It should be a happy, relaxing day. But for me, it is bittersweet. On March 7, 2011, I lost my mom. She was only 57. And Mother’s Day, like every other holiday and special occasion, has not been the same since.
It is almost like with her death, a ceiling was created on how much happiness I could feel. No matter how joyous an occasion, I always know that I’m not enjoying it as much as I would with Mom here. These special occasions- birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc- almost make me feel like I’m bipolar. One minute, I will be caught up in the excitement of seeing Charlotte open up her presents on Christmas morning, my heart almost bursting with happiness, and the next, I’m fighting back tears because my mom is missing it.
She has missed so much. Charlotte’s first steps, and words, and seeing her personality blossom into the smart, sweet, funny little girl she is now. She missed my graduation from nursing school- I know how proud she would have been, and how much she wanted to be there, and it haunts me that she didn’t make it. She missed the birth of three grandchildren, including the birth of my baby girl, Penelope. She would have loved being the grandmother to her six granddaughters. I acutely feel that loss at family gatherings.
Fortunately, I have many happy memories of the moments my mom was here for. She loved being the Mother of the Bride at my wedding and at my sister’s wedding. She was ecstatic with the births of her first three grandchildren- my two nieces, and my daughter, Charlotte. She saw my sister graduate from medical school. And she was here when I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life, even if she didn’t make it to my graduation.
And then there are all the moments she was there for as we were growing up: dance classes and recitals, Brownies, pizza lunches and craft days at school, class trips- she was there for them all. Every week at our softball games, she would sit in her lawn chair with her knitting or her needlepoint or whatever other project she was working on at the moment. It would have been so much easier for her to stay at home and do those things, but she never did. She was always there, and that describes her perfectly- always there.
There for the good times, and the bad times too. She saw me through illness, disappointment, heartbreak, through all the mistakes I made over the years, always with a gentle spirit, ready to forgive and help and support me no matter what. She was truly the embodiment of unconditional love. She is my role model, and I hope to be the kind of mom to my girls that she was to my sister and I. There are days when I desperately wish she was still here so I could simply ask her, “How did you do it?” Our house was always impeccably clean, with homemade dinners every night, and she made it seem so easy. I struggle with finding the time and motivation to keep even a semi-clean house, and, well, let’s not even talk about my cooking.
My mom’s legacy to me is one of love. I miss her every day, and I know that will never go away. This Mother’s Day, and every day, I am going to try to break through that ceiling and to be as happy as I know Mom would have wanted me to be. It is the one gift I can still give to her.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.