Not having a mother on Mother’s Day sucks. My mother passed away when I was young, long before I became a mother myself. I’d like to tell you that after spending 24 Mother’s Days without mine it gets easier, but it just simply isn’t true. In fact, in many ways, it gets harder as the years go on.
In the earlier years, pre-social media, and before I had kids of my own, it was pretty easy for me to just tune the day out and just go about my life. Once I had my own kids, kids who wanted to celebrate their mother, I could no longer hide. I’ve had to face a lot of feelings I’d been avoiding and could fill several books trying to describe what it’s like to be a motherless mother or to address the torment of knowing what both she and the kids are missing out on, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s hard.
I’ve spent much of my motherhood trying to put myself in her shoes. How did she keep us kids out of trouble? What did she do that made us feel special and loved? How did she manage it all? How did she get dinner on the table every night? I could fill a novel with every single question I want her to answer, but truthfully, I’m doing OK.
Most people would say better than OK. Alright fine, I’m a pretty darn good mother. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a twinge of sadness every time someone posts something as simple as drinking a cup of coffee with their mom, or get hit with waves of jealously when their kids are enjoying time with their grandmother. It doesn’t mean I don’t get lost in the “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” as I try to envision what life would look like if we weren’t missing such a huge piece of our hearts.
Not a day goes by where I don’t wish I could have one more moment with her.
A chance to ask her for parenting advice, a chance to apologize for being a jerky teenager, the opportunity to give her the gift I’ve seen so many friends give their moms- being able to say “I get it now, and thank you.” In fact, those posts are the ones that hit me the hardest.
While I wish nothing more than to be able to have that one single conversation with her, I realize that there are so many other people, many still right here on this earth, that are equally as deserving of those very same words.
I’ve been learning from people my entire life. I watched how you talked to other adults, how you interacted with other children. I witnessed how you worked in the kitchen or played at the playground. I observed how you handled whatever situation life threw at you. I’ve learned from all examples, both good and bad and mentally noted things that I do and don’t want to do.
Each and every one of you has contributed to the mother that I am today, and I thank you.
Thank you to the mamas from my childhood who welcomed me into your home and let me play with your child. Thanks for letting us make messes, for sharing the yummy snacks and for keeping me safe.
Thank you to the mamas who gifted me baby dolls so I could get plenty of practice, and doctor kits and astronaut gear to remind me that I could do anything I set my heart and mind to.
Thank you to the mamas whose kitchens I sat in as a child and teenager. We didn’t know at the time that I was observing life skills and gleaning important lessons I would need one day.
Thank you to the mamas who trusted me to babysit for your precious littles. As a mother myself, I cannot even begin to express the gravity of what that really means.
Thank you to the mamas who cheered me on at sporting events. You helped build my confidence in more ways than you know.
Thank you to the mamas who sent me care packages in college when I didn’t have my own mom to send me anything.
Thank you to the mamas who ensured we would never spend holidays alone.
Thank you to the mamas who worked behind the scenes to make sure my brothers and I would be OK financially, emotionally, etc. I promise your efforts did not go unnoticed.
Thank you to the mamas who prayed when you didn’t know how else to help. We know you were there.
Thank you to the mamas of my students for entrusting me with your child’s care and education. You taught me how to trust others and also how to advocate for my own kids.
Thank you to the mamas who had children first, so that I could observe you from afar. Sure, there were things I likely thought to myself I’d never let my kids do and of course, now do, but that’s not the point.
Thank you to the Pinterest mamas who taught me to stop re-inventing the wheel and also provided an outlet for creativity and inspiration. Thank you to the “non-Pinteresty mamas” who remind me that it’s OK to outsource or even just let things go.
Thank you to the homeschooling mamas for your endless support, knowledge, and dedication.
Thank you to the mamas who inspire me to do things differently, for whatever reason that is.
Thank you to the “fit and non-fit mamas” for motivating me and teaching me to love myself for who I am.
Thank you to the working mamas, the stay-at-home mamas, and everything in between, for teaching me that it’s all challenging, all a juggling act, and all entirely worth it.
Thank you to all of my mama friends with varying parenting styles for teaching me that it’s all about balance and we are all unique.
Thank you to the older mamas for reminding me how precious and fleeting this time is, and for sharing tidbits that I tuck away for future use when my kids reach that age.
Thank you to the younger mamas for letting me offer you advice, and also for the reminder of the sweetest time of innocence.
Thank you to the mamas who are real and raw, for letting me do the same.
Thank you Lord, for granting me the opportunity to be a mother, for teaching me not to take a single second of this gift for granted, and for surrounding me with so many amazing mamas.
There isn’t enough gratitude in the world to thank all of the mamas who have touched my life and shaped me as a parent in one way or another. No one will ever replace my own mother, but as a believer in people and community, I know she is grateful and proud that her own daughter got to join this beautiful, supportive, chaotic and exhausting club we call motherhood.