Mother’s Day. Thoughts?
I have a complicated relationship with Mother’s Day. I hated it for many years. It made me surly and bitter. For a long time, everyone else my age still had a mother. Someone who called and cared. I didn’t appreciate the annual reminder of the relationship I was lacking.
Then I became a mother myself. Suddenly and miraculously, the ridiculous holiday made sense. “Wait, you want to honor me for my efforts? Sure!” The more gushy the card, the more clichéd your expressions, the better.
Since my birthday is on the 21st and our anniversary is three days later, I have been known to consider May my month. Start to finish. I like that. A lot. This year, I went all in and boldly declared it MomMay. On MomMay the 1st, I started asking Lu and Edy if they’d saved up for gifts or planned any elaborate parties. Lu, as Lu does, rolled her eyes with great overemphasis. But Edy, I soon discovered, began stockpiling homemade presents and cards. This confirmed two things. First, that Edy is awesome in every way and second, that Edy spends a lot of unsupervised (but apparently productive) time in the basement.
I hope you get what Edy obviously, and so sweetly, missed. May mania is my attempt to be silly and light. The pendulum swing. The burying of – and then the dancing upon – old, achy feelings.
Self analysis is one of my greatest hobbies. I am incredibly self aware. For instance, I don’t understand how people can leave their shopping carts in the middle of the grocery store aisle and not realize that other people can’t maneuver around. I always park with room to pass. Always.
Besides shopping cart etiquette, self awareness has also led me to conclude that I probably harp on loss too much. It is the platform on which I’ve built my (tiny) business and it is the theme of this blog. I’m sure it gets tiresome reading about it. We all have loss. What makes mine so special?
I also constantly worry that my inspiration will be perceived as exploitation of my sister and her story and that would destroy this fragile writer.
Then last Sunday, another woman died. A very young mother with a fabulous family who had a slew of doctors ignore a slew of symptoms. It made me think that maybe my self awareness was rather selfish and that her message and her willingness to lay it all out there, is more important (way, way more) than my over-interpreted feelings.
Lisa was only 24 and had much to manage with a young son and a terminal disease. But she didn’t cower. She accepted the spotlight, though nervous and sick, solely for the sake of others. Isn’t this the epitome of what a mother does? Creating a legacy that will promote good in the world beyond your life?
Interestingly, it was also last week that Gail’s daughter continued her quest to be tested for the BRCA2 gene mutation. She called Fox Chase and was surprised to learn that they already had her name in their system. Gail, who initiated the original testing and compiled all the family history, had created a file knowing two things – that Nicole would someday benefit from her hard work and that she’d be long gone when her daughter did.
I’m not going to hate on Mother’s Day anymore. And I’m not going to hyper-celebrate either… though MomMay is fun to say. Stop the pendulum. Instead, I will use the holiday as a reminder to get out of my head, gain confidence delivering information I know to be true and important, and try – in big and small ways – to make an impact that reaches beyond the years of my life.
I will do it for Gail and I will always remember Lisa.
The first link below is an interview with Lisa from last September. It will break your heart, but it will also empower you to listen to your body, trust your instincts and not take your health or your life for granted.