Over the years, a few Mother’s Day’s have been misplaced. Conflicting performance schedules have been popular excuses. Too busy-ness, and a big job that requires travel (Three-quarters of the sum total of family birthdays have fallen under similar consequences.), and the refusal to write in a datebook such occasions which I take for passive-aggressive-sideways behavior. I could be wrong.
There was a golden time when Mother’s Day was a warm occasion celebrated with brunch or an early dinner. The days started out being special and fun. There was this feeling of “cool- I’m a mom! I baked these little people.” When the cards were drawn by small hands, the flowers wild and spiced with rosemary sprigs in honor of me and The Mother, those were happy times.
It was a time when more than motherhood was celebrated. What we were taking time to recognise was the joy of being a family. Despite all the underlaying unhappiness and frustration of the parents, we were a family of bright and beautiful young people who knew laughter and fun, and love.
Years passed, and small children grew as they must, but these special times of pausing to count our blessings became distilled into last minute mumblings of “Holy fuck, I forgot to buy the card. Did I buy the card? Is the flower shop near the corner still open, or maybe I can get to the grocery store before X wakes up and purchase the cake or flowers or card or chocolate croissaints or…? ”
On Mother’s Day this year, the first since my spouse moved out, I awakened to the sounds and smells of him making French Toast. By the time I’d dressed and opened my bedroom door, the kitchen was tidy as if no one had been there. Everyone gone early to church to vest for liturical duties.
On the counter in a drinking glass without water to nourish them, was a small bouquet of flowers, still in their wrapping. But there was no French Toast for me. No bread. All the eggs consumed. The traditional freshly juiced blood oranges were not present either. Perhaps worst of all: no coffee. None at all.
My feelings were multiple and weighed heavily on me. I quickly dressed and went to church. Maternal affirmation pervaded, and it made me both sad and angry. I was part of things, yet I was apart from things. I was not sure where I belonged.
One child went off with his father. Another went to see his girlfriend, and I went home to my kitty and made fresh coffee with a French Press. Then I went to bed and cried.
I miss being a family. It was something I treasured, something I put my whole life into creating and managing, and now I have fractured it because it was broken, and needed a remodel for all the members to be healthy again. It will take years.
On Mother’s Day, I questioned my judgment as I began the process of thinking, “never again will I know this.”
My first Easter in this new life was abysmal as well. I didn’t make baskets, or dye eggs, and the kids, knowing how tight the purse is, never mentioned anything.
I must remember not to let my grief interfere with the family traditions we created together. It is important that I keep these going. For them. For me.