Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day we celebrate Mothers. I would like to honor two very special mothers in my own life.
My Mom

My mom was so funny. She was a ham! As you can tell from this picture. She loved to perform and make people laugh. She wasn’t satisfied until she had everyone in the room smiling. There was a glow about her and people were drawn to her for her warmth and radiance. And yet, for all of her out-goingness, she was deeply, deeply private. She only let a few people really inside to see the true Sue. And you were lucky if you got to know the real her.

She was a reader. She loved books probably more than people. I never saw her without a book or two that she was reading. Books were her best friends. She loved words. Her favorite book was her dictionary. It was a big, old thing, but she was never with out it. She loved to learn new things and share that with others, sometimes rather annoyingly. She called me very late one night just to tell me she found the word “pimp mobile” in her new Oxford dictionary. What a riot.
I hope she died knowing how much I loved her, how much I still love her. I hope she knows that all the mistakes she ever made as a mother were forgiven, the second I became a mother myself. This motherhood stuff is hard. She was one of my dearest friends. Even now when something happens, for good or for bad, I reach for the phone and then realize she won’t be there to answer it. Her loss in my life is profound. Most of the time I try not to feel so wounded by the grief of her passing, because I know she wouldn’t want me to be. But darnit, it hurts! I wish I could still feel her hug me, and kiss her on both cheeks (that was our thing) and have her call me “girl baby” once more.
‎”My mom is a never-ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words, but I always remember the tune.” — Unknown
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.
My Mother-in-law
Mary Jo

A lot of my friends have issues with their mothers-in-law, but not me. I don’t know how I lucked out to marry into the best family ever. Mary Jo is honestly one of the kindest women I have ever known in my life. You are lucky to be her friend. She is selfless, generous, and loving. I couldn’t ask for a better grandmother for my children. I love this woman so much that sometimes I forget she didn’t birth me herself. It’s no surprise to me that her son, my husband, would take after her so much. He’s one of the kindest, most generous men I’ve ever met. This lady is a class act. She welcomes everyone in her home like they are family. There is no such things as “steps” or “in-laws.” Family is family to her.

I hope she knows how much I love her. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her for all the things she does for me, for loving me, for treating me like I am one of her own, and for being such a wonderful grandmother to my children. I hope she knows how much I admire her and how I aspire to be half the woman she is. I hope she knows that my Mom’s death is made easier because I have another mother to love me, guide me, and look out for me. I wish everyone had a mother-in-law like Mary Jo. They broke the mold when they made her.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

The Complications of Mother’s Day

Me, my mom, Sue, and brother, Victor on May 20, 2005
“Beyond all lessons, beyond the model she provided, my mother gave me a parent’s ultimate gift: she made me feel lovable and good. She paid attention; she listened; she remembered what I said. She did not think me perfect, but she accepted me, without qualification.” –Fredelle Maynard
The week leading up to Mother’s Day is hard for me. I have been weepy all week. I didn’t understand why I was crying for no reason, why I was blue, why I’ve had no desire to do anything, why I suddenly became very interested in Cheetos. And then it dawned on me that Mother’s Day is coming up. And Mother’s Day is hard. It’s a very hard day for me.
This Sunday will be my fourth Mother’s Day that I get to celebrate with my mother at her grave instead of bringing her a gift and eating brunch with her. Honestly, it’s no fun celebrating Mother’s Day in a cemetery. It’s the one holiday that brings me to my knees.
The first Mother’s Day without my mother was awful. I wrote about my feelings here. I thought by the fourth one it would be easier, but it’s just not. In 2007, I got my Mom a necklace for Mother’s Day that was an “S” with two yellow stones in it, her favorite color. Now that necklace is mine, and I will wear it on Sunday.
I posted the quote above because it perfectly describes my relationship with my mother. Was she a perfect mother? No, but who is? But she was perfect for me. I hope I can give my own children the kind of love and acceptance she gave me.
Sometimes I just want to shout into the air at my Mom, “why aren’t you here? Why did you have to leave us?” People always hand me these platitudes that my mother is my guardian angel watching over us and she still gets to see my kids grow up. To quote M’Lynn from the movie “Steel Magnolias,” my reaction is, “maybe I’m just selfish, because I’d rather have her here.”
So you see my friends, my feelings for Mother’s Day are complicated. I know a lot of people have issues surrounding this holiday. Whether they have a complicated or non-existent relationship with their mother, whether they are part of the motherless child’s club like me, whether they are desperate to be a mother, and for whatever reason that blessing has been denied to them, etc. I know I’m not the only one who has mixed emotions surrounding this day. I know a lot of women who skip church on Mother’s Day.
I often forget that this holiday is for me as well. Oh yeah, I’m a mother too, and my sweet kids want to bring me breakfast in bed, and give me the presents that they made in school that they’re so proud of. So while I am mourning the loss of what I once had and will never have again, I will revel in the tender faces of my children and I will try to be the kind of mother to them that the above quote encompasses. Just like my Mom was to me.