lessons learned from surviving four mother’s days without my mom

mother's day 2014For those of us who find mother’s day a little tricky—there are plenty of circumstances that complicate this fête—it’s natural to prepare for the fuss and bustle with a few coping mechanisms at the ready. In the past four years, I’ve employed a few tactics, with limited success.

I’ve tried avoiding all social media and sappy commercials. Blocking out the parade of sentimental mom tributes helps, but sticking your head in the sand isn’t the healthiest strategy.

I’ve tried focusing on my own motherhood to a sweet little one. That brings me joy, but it doesn’t satisfy the longing to honor my mom with a heartfelt gesture.

I’ve tried celebrating all the mothers in my life that I admire and appreciate. While I’m honestly thrilled to salute them, and am truly grateful for their influence on my life, I still feel the unfinished itchiness of needing to include one more person.

What I’ve learned is that these methods will never entirely soothe the mother’s day blues for me, because my unease isn’t due to the emphasis on moms making me miss mine more. That is not possible. What I feel on this day is more of a fidgety restlessness that comes with unexpressed sentiments.

On the day when everyone is professing that no, MY mom is the best!—I have things I want to say, and I want to say it to her (lovely) face! 😉 Nothing was left unsaid before my mom died (our relationship was not reserved), but becoming a mother has heightened my awe of her and increased my gratitude for everything she did for me. I have a new-found respect and wonder, and I want to gush at her.

So I’ve decided I’ve been doing it wrong. Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be an exercise in divert, distract, deflect. Yes, I will continue to direct my attention toward cherishing being a mommy and esteeming the wonderful mothers around me. (And I’ll probably still give a wide berth to my online feeds.) But I’ll also deliberately spill my admiration of her. To my husband. To my family. To my friends, to God, or anyone else who will listen. And to her, even if I can never deliver the note.

This approach may not be helpful to those who dread Mother’s Day because they have a strained or absent relationship with their mom, or a yearning for a child unborn or lost. But I pray we can all find healthy ways to face the hubub, because mothers certainly deserve more than one day a year to be revered.

And this lucky mom feels very honored, loved, appreciated, and encouraged by my amazing husband, son, and family. It’s been a wonderful, near-perfect day.

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