I have a confession to make. I've never really been a fan of Mother's Day.
If we're being completely honest, my mother was never really much of an influence in my life -- after running away from home when I was just 10 (my sister had just turned 3), we had sporadic access at best - cameos if you will - at irregular intervals - but most often we had no contact at all.
Later on in life, I became a stepmom, and though I love the kids dearly and would defy anyone to the death that might claim that after all the years as a full-time custodial stepmom that they weren't also MINE ~ but it was always tough to celebrate the day on a weekend where the kids were typically not home with you. There were always spoilings before and after though, and I always loved seeing what the kids came up with. I still have the scrap of paper that our son scrawled a fortune cookie style, I love you Mom on, when he realized that he'd forgotten mother's day and his sister's had both made gifts at school, but "artsy-fartsy" was never his style. There's a butterfly fridge magnet on my fridge our youngest made in French class that says #1 Mere.. there were blessings.. don't get me wrong.. but they were blessings shrouded by long-standing clouds.. that I found tough to escape.
At one point in my life, my mother lived just 10 blocks away from me and I couldn't call or contact her. When we'd get a chance to see her, it was either not mentioned or it was another rendition of the blame game. It wasn't news to me that my parents didn't get along - all I really wanted to know was why Mom didn't want ME. Had I done something wrong? How could I fix it? No answers ever came. Apparently she who has started over, can just move on and forget about it. Leave the past in the past ~ but for we who were left behind ~ I can't help but feel that we have earned a discussion we've waited our whole lives to hear first-hand.
Even her departure came in the form of a lie - That morning is engraved on my brain for all eternity. I remember coming downstairs, and finding my Dad waiting for me in the kitchen. I thought that was weird, because he was standing next to the spot where Mom normally stood by the coffee pot. He said Mom wanted to talk to me and pointed in the direction of their room. Still half asleep I wandered in there to find My mom throwing the contents of her closet and dresser into two of the biggest boxes I had ever seen.
When she saw me she sat down on the bed and ushered me over. She was going away for a while - I wanted to know how long - she said a few weeks. I asked her why she didn't leave some of her things here for when she got back. She told me she didn't know what she would need - another lie. Before too long my aunt had arrived and Mom and her boxes were gone.
That day was the beginning of a long series of changes to our world - but one thing was always constant - DAD. Being a single Dad was no picnic - I often wondered why he stayed with us when so many others would have dropped and run - People could be so cruel. Transition wasn't easy either and Dad and I often didn't see eye to eye - but whenever something happened good or bad - he was the first person to know about it. Funny how that works..
Mother's Day became a day when my sister and I would call each other and acknowledge the day for each other, even though we couldn't contact the one person we both wanted to. It also became a day when we'd give thanks to our "Daddy-Mom." He'd always laugh about it, but I think he recognized that we were looking for a way to make it OK. In later years, I became a stepmom and Dad would answer the phone and instead of hello, he'd greet me with a Happy Mother Day and giggle because he got to say it before I did. Oh how I miss that mischeivous giggle.
We lost Dad last December, and some days it still overwhelms me how someone who was an almost daily part of my life for ALL of my life could just be GONE. I keep waiitng for someone to tell me that this is a cruel joke and our regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly.. so far it ain't happening.
We've been going through boxes and storage lately and I keep coming across what I've affectionally dubbed as memories of Dad. Newspaper clippings, photographs and other trinkets. Some of their meanings obvious, like news clippings of folks from home that I'd recognize. The postcard with a dozen roses on it that he'd sent me after I made a few phone calls for him - it became a long standing joke - his standard offer was that he'd send me another dozen roses for doing this or that. I have a BK Burger too ~ that was my big lunch.. Dad was a real character..
Sometimes, however, the meaning behind what was sent wasn't quite so obvious, and I'd end up reading obscure articles, or flyers trying to figure why they were "chosen". There was always a few AOL disks the box - after all I use computers, they must be useful right? I really came to get a big kick out of parcels from Dad because you just never knew what you were going to find inside. I always imagined him putting a box or envelope aside and adding things to it until it was full. I often wondered why he'd spend so much money on a box of what my daughter would call random-ness ~ but I could totally see him laughing to himself as he wrote down the margin of an article, or put his own caption on a photo. In some ways it was like getting a bit of a glimpse into Dad's day because he'd share snippits of it.
We lost Dad last December, and sometimes it still doesn't feel real. How could someone so animated and vibrant just cease to exist? We'd talked almost every day. When I was going through and packing his things I found a number of mementos he'd saved over the years and I realized that Dad was a lot more marshmallow than we ever knew. He kept *everything* including the very first poem I'd written him for mother's day and sent in for mother's day tributes to the newspaper, I even came across a couple of letters I'd sent home not long after moving out here some 16 years ago. The long-stemmed blue roses we'd special ordered a few years ago had also been a real hit. When you're looking back in the rear view mirror as an adult, so many of those "little things" that our parents did for us seem so much bigger than they did back then.
The big note to self on this post for me is to cherish every moment you do have with the people that matter. Not the ones that are "supposed" to matter, "Supposed to care" ~ too much time gets lost wishing on what might have been. It still hurts sometimes, but at least I've grown enough to realize that the absence says way more about them, and much less about me. I just wish I'd realized it sooner.
|A hand-stamped card I made last year.. :)|
I'm grateful for the love of a great man, and the 3 (not so) little (anymore) bears that he selflessly shared with me - not to forget sharing his Mom and Dad with me. After all these years he calls them "our" parents, and jokes that they love me more than him - Ludicrous! but it always makes everyone laugh. I never miss a chance to tell him how truly fortunate he is to have had that kind of love in his life. His parents are amazing. We are truly blessed.
Whether you celebrate your Mom, or another special person in your life that's doing the "Mom" job ~ give them an extra special hung this weekend. There are so many out there that only wish they could have your good fortune. No matter how bad things may seem, there will come a day where there are no more tomorrows and you'll wish you could have just one. My advice to you is to enjoy your special people while you have them. Lifetimes don't last nearly long enough!
Forward to the Annual Pilgramage that is known as the Mother's Day Garden Centre Hop ~ Hope Nana's got her comfy shoes on! :)