It wasn't until I became a mother that I really understood the significance of mother's day. Sure, as a kid I used to look forward to buying mum a pressie or behaving exceptionally well for her on that special day. But the true meaning of mother's day? Well that didn't really hit home until I became a mother myself.
My first mother's day was a quiet event, spent at home with hubby and our five-day-old son. I had missed out on attending a mother's day lunch with my own mother and siblings as I'd been too exhausted from caring 24-7 for a newborn baby.
Unfortunately, that mother's day - my first - turned out to be mum's last. And it breaks my heart to know that I didn't get to share it with her.
Since then, Mother's Day has been a bitter-sweet experience. Although I have moved beyond that period of intense grief, the pain of not having mum around is still strong. In the past I generally missed her as a daughter missing her mother, but now more than ever I miss her as a mother missing her own mother.
So while I try my best to look forward to Mother's Day each year, the truth is that part of me just wishes the whole thing didn't exist. Sure, I enjoy reading the cards the children make for me each year and look forward to spending the day with them. But there's always that silent yearning for having my own mother to celebrate with. It's like a sadness that you try to push away, but it slowly creeps up into your gut and makes its way into your heart. And because I'm surrounded by three (very attentive) little beings, I cover that sadness up with a smile and it's not until I'm all alone that night that the tears freely flow.
Mum made mothering look so easy that it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I discovered how difficult and relentless it could be.
But Mother's day as a motherless mother is not all about tears and sadness. For me, a significant part of Mother's Day is celebrating my own mother by remembering the lessons she taught me; by reminiscing about being the wonderful woman she was; by reflecting on her capacity to love unconditionally and to face adversity head on; by marvelling at her ability to have raised five children almost single-handedly and doing such a bloody good job of it. Mum made mothering look so easy that it wasn't until I became a mother myself that I discovered how difficult and relentless it could be. Unfortunately, by the time I discovered the difficulties of mothering, and the joys, mum was no longer around to share her experiences and wisdom with me. I've always wondered if she found raising five children as easy as she had made it look. I've often wished for her advice and then found myself trying to figure out what she would say in regards to a particular situation...
It's true that we don't appreciate the enormity and selflessness of mothering until we become mothers. Almost every new mother I know has proclaimed a new found respect for her own mother. And rightly so. As women it may not be until we ourselves become mothers that we really understand the significance of our own mothers and the importance of the small sacrifices they made almost daily to ensure our happiness. And perhaps, most of all that's what Mother's Day is all about - paying tribute to all women, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to being the very best mothers they can be.
From the depth of my heart, I wish all mothers a very joyful Mothers' Day. I wish all motherless mothers lots of love and comfort on that day, when I expect that they'll be missing their own mothers as much as I do my own.
What does Mother's Day mean to you? If, like me, you are a motherless mother, what are your feelings about Mothers' Day and how do you celebrate the memory of your own mother? I'd love to hear your stories.
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