Buying a Father's Day card for my Dad was always hard. Daddy moved out when I was in 7th grade, so buying one that gave him "rights to the remote!" never seemed to fit. He lived in his own house with his own remote... I never was in charge of that one. He didn't golf. He wasn't in to sports. I wasn't able to steal his car keys or take cash out of his wallet... and those seemed to be all of the Hallmark-themed Man Cards out there. I often would stick to "Love, your little girl" and move on.
I found myself in a similar conundrum this year with Mom. I can no longer go toward the "you're my mother and my best friend" line. I can't talk about shopping trips. I can't offer to give her a "day off"... ugh, Hallmark/ American Greetings/ Target... can you help a sister out? I ended up with one which was super true- and hard to buy at the same time. It was along the lines of "You taught me how to be a Mom/ I learned from the best." But buying cards for someone who is no longer the woman you grew up with is tricky.
Mother's Day can be just that... tricky. I first learned this from my friend, Nicole, after she lost her Mom. She dreaded Mother's Day. She got through that first day without her Mom with the help of her husband- that year also marked Nicole's first year with her own child, and Geoff helped her celebrate big in a way that was honoring to both Nicole and her Mom.
This year, Nicole is celebrating her second year without her husband's help. Geoff died May 2 last year, and Nicole herself has said that maybe we can skip straight from April to July. (Father's Day is another rough event for her same family... as it is in mine as well.)
So what then? What about those who don't have a Momma here to celebrate? Or who don't have a husband here to rally around them so that they are celebrated? Or those- like us- who longed for so long to be a Mother, only to find pregnancy test after test negative? My friend, Debbie (a recent widow herself) blogged about her own experience here. This is her first Mother's Day without the "typical" husband-prompted events. Rather than put myself in her shoes, I'd love you to read her own words. And I read this blog post earlier this week directed toward women struggling with infertility... a battle I know too fondly. In fact, I'm reminded that one year I not only had no child to celebrate, but my due date for one of the babies we lost was on the actual day of Mother's Day. Ouch.
We all have our own pain, our own grief, our own hard places in life. Those of us hurting don't ask those of you not to hide your joy- we just appreciate it oh so much when you acknowledge our journey. My own journey over the last year has led me to be truly intentional on days like this. Rather than play "the game", I let Dan know of something I'd been wanting to purchase for our family, and asked his blessing to make that gift my Mother's Day/Anniversary gift. The "extra" treats of my day came in homemade books and self-wrapped candy bars, delivered with breakfast by the sweet little one who first called me Mommy. I scheduled time with my Mom today, and made sure to make her feel special on this first Mother's Day in our newest stage of life together. And this evening, Dan and I enjoyed some adult company while my little girl played Star Wars outside with friends until they all smelled like "kids in the summer" and we called it a night. Truly, I enjoyed my day.
I won't lie, though... this morning I woke up missing Mary, and quite honestly, missing my Mom. I have been blessed to have an amazing Mother and Stepmother, and sadly don't have them here to celebrate as I have in years past. What I do have are the qualities that both poured into my life, and for that I am grateful. I am hopeful that however you spent your day, you had a moment to be grateful for some amazing women in your life, too- however they arrived there. And on days like this that Hallmark (etc.) don't seem to offer the perfect card for you, know that there are so many others like you out there. We hurt with you, and we celebrate with you too.