I am 34 years old. I neither have a mother nor am a mother. I lost my own years ago and probably won’t become one for a few years still. This Sunday is Mother’s Day. And it blows.
Being a child without a mother is tragic. Being a relatively young adult without one is a little less sad, but still really, really sucks. My mom died when I was 20 years old and there’s not one day that passes where I don’t think of her in some way, be it fleeting painful memory or still-funny inside joke. It hurts every day. I resent that once a year I am forced to stare my motherless stature in the face while others make brunch plans and send flowers.
I’m also just getting to the stage – who am I kidding, I’ve been here a few years now – where my friends are becoming mothers themselves. And that’s another gut punch, in a way, because these women I’ve grown up with are now all members of a society I can’t belong to, at least not yet anyway. They’re being celebrated this weekend, coating the walls of Facebook and Instagram with photos of handmade cards with wobbly writing, just-picked bouquets, and smiling husbands holding chubby toddlers. And I’m happy for them, I am. I’m just happy from the outside of the circle, looking in.
My best friend, her husband, and their insanely terrific two-year-old came to New York to visit me last weekend. Spending time with this baby, this living, squirting, bubbling representation of their collective selves wasn’t just fun (and exhausting), it was good for my soul. I got the inside peek at what it’s like to be a mom and for the first time, it didn’t seem like a completely alien concept to me. In fact, it seemed almost do-able…eventually.
Then I think about having a child who will never meet my own mother. Never hear her off-pitch singalongs to Bonnie Raitt, never see her eyes crinkle in the corners when she makes a particularly funny (read: corny) joke, never taste her lemon meringue pie. And it makes me sad…but not sad enough to not have that child, to adore them, whisper to them first thing in the morning and last thing at night how much I love them, how I’ll always love them, how they’re everything to me. Because that’s what my mom did for me.
And I know she was right.