This is for all the moms out there who have a mother but won’t be celebrating her this year.
Sometimes, girls turn into women and somehow in the process, outgrow their own mother. Sometimes, a mother can’t- or worse, won’t- accept that their girls have grown up; that they have become their own woman with the inherent rights and independence that should be bestowed upon them. Sometimes, the only person who has been biologically programmed to love you lets you down when you need her the most.
I know you wish you could call her when your baby sat up for the first time. I know you want to send her a picture of the first tooth that finally sprouted; or commiserate about the long nights and fevers that came with it. I know you wish she was around to watch your kids blow out the candles on their birthday cake; to watch them dance in their recitals, or cheer on the sidelines of their soccer games. I know you wish your children had a Grandma to whisk them off to ice cream lunch dates. I know you tell your friends how lucky they are to have a great mom, and you try to be happy for them instead of envious. I know you wish your mother had become your friend.
Sometimes, as much as it hurts, as much as you wish your situation was different, your life is better without her. Sometimes you are a better mother without the emotional drain of a damaged relationship. I’m holding out a Katniss-style, three-finger salute to all you mothers learning to mother without a mother.
I’m hoping you have aunts, grandparents, sisters, or best friends- even fellow church members or neighbors- you can celebrate this year. I’m hoping you remember the quote I often repeat to myself, “You have two chances at family. One you’re born into; the other you create.”
Go create the best damn family you have always wished for. You won’t get a chance to be the child growing up in that family, but you’ll get to raise your kids in it. Be the kind of mother your kids couldn’t imagine life without. Be the kind of mother your mother isn’t.
If you’ve read this far and you DO have a mother to celebrate on May 8th, would you do us a favor? Buy her the prettiest card you can find. Hug her. Hold her for a moment too long. Be grateful she is there to be a Grandma to your children. Because, despite her flaws, she is the first one who ever loved you, and she keeps loving you for being you. Do it for the rest of us. Because there are women like me who wish with all their might they had a mother to celebrate.