Motherless daughters and sons…or why I avoid card shops in May

10 05 2013

I might have said before about how much I hate Mother’s Day.
First, I hate it cos I always review how I coulda, shoulda, woulda been a better mother. It’s kind of like New Years Day resolutions with no way for recovery. I mean, I tried to be a good mum – I used to feel pride in it, felt I knew something about it.

Truth was, my kids did ok because they are pretty fantastic people and probably the best thing I did was to get out of their way. Well, and maybe lay a few crumbs to show them some optional paths.
And of course love them, fiercely and unconditionally and with every cell of my being.
But that’s not to say I don’t regularly wish I’d done better. What mom doesn’t? It’s part of he placental hormones…

The second reason I hate Mother’s Day is that other people still have mothers and I haven’t had mine for the past twenty-one years. For the past many years, every Mother’s Day feels like a cavity, the more so because my mum, in one last fit of competition with my dad, passed away on May 10th. Right around Mother’s Day. (My dad had left us a few years earlier on Christmas Eve) I’d like to say she didn’t make it then deliberately, but my mum was a very organized person. Once it was apparent she would lose her battle with cancer, I’m sure she thought hard about a time when her passing would have the most impact. She always liked to make a grand entrance and exit…and could do both, anytime, with the lift of an eyebrow or a turn of a phrase. She knew the art of pausing at the entry of a room, waiting for heads to turn toward her before moving into the centre.

She was formidable, funny, smart as anything, and fierce. And yet, I think, a bit afraid under it all.
She never went back to the law after I was born and the family moved to the US. She would have had to write the Massachusetts Bar, something she likely could have done with ease. For some reason she never tried. I suppose my father’s verbal support didn’t translate to real support. Who knows? Sadly, I never really asked her about things. Too busy trying to live my own life.

I wish I’d asked. I wish I’d known her better. I wish we’d been able to get past out mother/child boundaries to talk more, woman to woman.

So every Mother’s Day I think about those missed opportunities, as mother and daughter, and wish I’d done better. Seeing all the pink-framed schmaltzy sentiments and discounts on shopping trips and spa treatments (something that wouldn’t appeal to either me or my mother) doesn’t help.

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