I have started this post, rewritten it and contemplated it more over the last week than I probably should have. But that's what happens when you've lost your mother and the world goes on. It's been 14 years since we were able to celebrate it together.
In the first few years, I'd dread going into the card store to find the right one for my grandmothers and mother-in-law. I'd run out sobbing and only part of the time actually have walked out with what I needed.
When I had one grandmother to shop for and my mother-in-law, my husband and I divided the task. It minimized the stress, especially when faced with the "when I lose this grandmother….I have no one else to shop for" sadness. Thankfully, my husband still handles Mother's Day for his mom and I avoid the card store. It's for the best.
The first few years are, without a doubt, the hardest. Then there are a chunk of years where it's hard, but the newness is gone. No longer looking for Mom to walk in the door for a visit, expecting the phone to ring…. It's just easier, but you never forget.
At some point, you just get used to it. The daily missing subsides, but it's always there deep down. Something will remind me of my Mom. Or better yet, the new challenges of parenting that I wish I had Mom to chat with, mostly to laugh at the parenting choices or celebrate the parenting wins, kid wins and tell me how she feared the first few times I drove the car alone, even though she knew I drove the car just like my dad despite the fact that she taught me to drive.
I often credit the loss of my mom for me being "such a good mom" as I'm often told. It sounds funny to put it in writing like that. Bear with me a moment…. it will make sense!
If you know me, then you may know that I lost my mom while still pregnant with my son. I still remember my aunts telling me “she never wanted it this way” or giving me strength with their hugs and making sure I took care of myself. No one wanted me to go into labor that week. A lot of time has passed. I have a physical reminder of that in the likes of my giant son. My angel. He needed me when I didn’t know if I could get out of bed, but I did it for him.
As a substantial wave of grief eased, maybe 2 years later, I remember very clearly giving myself a pep talk. “You can’t keep worrying about what you don’t have and worry about what you do.“ My children. They needed me to be more than a puddle of emotions. So I picked myself up. I give them my all. I've volunteered in their classroom, in their activities, brought them to events at school even when I was too tired to go. I've cheered them on during their swim seasons and are their biggest cheerleaders in life. I consider myself the lucky one.
I lead with my heart to love, protect and nurture my kids, plus the kids that I'm around. That includes my volunteer time, my coaching work and even my time bus driving… The kids that I’m lucky to connect with and support… it's all because of my mom.
Mostly, today as we celebrate Mother's Day, I miss her. Clearly. I wish we could toast to motherhood, laughing at the similarities between my kids and the antics I pulled as a teen. Laughing at the complete chaos of my life, which she appropriately said that I am only happy when there is chaos. She's not wrong. I miss our antics together. Her laugh. But while I miss her, I know she's still present. Especially now that I'm in the throws of raising teenagers (and one that drives now!).
Mom, Happy Mother's Day. I hope you enjoy the laughs I know we're giving you when you're watching. Our chaos is full of love and I know that you're proud of us! Love you always!