I’ve been thinking about how any given holiday, in this case Mother’s Day, for various reasons is likely painful for a huge percentage of the population. This after having spent more than a few minutes doing a “woe is me” routine in my head over my newly empty nest and this coming Sunday.
The truth is, I realized a ways into my imagined psychodrama, I am very fortunate to have an “empty nest.” There are people out there, probably nearer than you think, who have lost mothers. There are those out there who have tragically lost children. There are those out there who for whatever reason, have never known their mothers. The list of unique personal circumstances goes on and on. Very few families fit perfectly into the neat little Mother’s Day box. While I don’t pretend to understand anyone’s particular pain, I can speculate that Mother’s Day looms large on the horizons of many.
Neither of my daughters will be home with me on Mother’s Day. But you know what? I’ve decided to be glad. They’re both where they’re supposed to be. They’re happy and healthy and tell me they love me all the time. And I’m damned lucky for that. I remind myself that I didn’t become a mother to have them revolve around me, making me feel all important one day a year, but to get out there in the world and become their own little stars.
Ironically if my iPhone is a nest, it is actually quite full.They are but a text message and phone call away and for all this I am extremely grateful. The forced sentimentality of Mother’s Day and its ilk – Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day – aren’t necessarily bad ideas; after all, there’s a greeting card and a floral industry to support. I’m okay with that, and I think celebrating together as families every chance we get is always a good idea. But maybe it’s time, especially if we find ourselves pushed by the flip side of what is meant to be something positive into feeling sorry for ourselves over some real or imagined short shrift, to just stop.
So join me in resisting the temptation to belly flop onto the calm, innocuous looking waters of the conventional holiday. Let them be seen as just another day to feel lucky to be alive and enjoy the view from the top of the diving board instead. Celebrate and be thankful for the loved ones whoever they may be and wherever they are, who are in our lives right now.
PS – To my own Mom, whom I haven’t had the pleasure of celebrating Mother’s Day in person with for many years – I love you! And next time, lunch is on me.