How does a pregnant woman who has just lost her mother celebrate Mother’s Day?
Denial. Denial, denial, denial.
It’s worth noting that we were never a “Mother’s Day” family. Breakfast in bed, flowers from the back yard, and a homemade card. That would be it. Of course, this was how most holidays were celebrated– everything was pretty low key. It’s almost like we were Jehovah’s Witnesses…
I have been dreading Mother’s Day. Not in my usual “Damn Commercialization!” sort of way. In a new, exciting “I hate all people who have mothers” sort of way. This sounds crazy, I know. But in the same way that you secretly hate all pregnant women (or used to) I now secretly hate all people who have living, breathing mothers. Lucky me, there is a whole holiday dedicated to celebrating this relationship which I sorely miss! De-light-ful!
So I decided to pretend like none of this was happening.
In a weird and unfortunate scheduling snafu, Mr. O planned a vacation with his cousins for this week, meaning I would be by myself on Mother’s Day. He freaked, offered to change the tickets, but honestly, I didn’t care. I miss my mother every single day, and I didn’t see how this one would be any different. I’ll just cry a little more than usual, and that is no reason to incur change fees.
Still, it did seem like nice excuse to do whatever I wanted, so I mapped out what my day would look like. It started with a long walk in the arboretum near my house.
The arboretum has been my sanctuary in many ways. When I’ve lost jobs, suffered personal defeats, or just needed to clear my head, it has been the first place I go. I’ve been running there almost every day for the past two years, and I’ve seen it change in all seasons. It’s kind of like an old, trusted friend. I can lose myself in this space, and it always seems to reflect where I’m at.
The winter where I live was brutal this year. I actually welcomed it because it gave me a perfect excuse for not wanting to leave the house. After my mom died, I would go for runs in the arboretum. It was freezing cold, the trees were leaf-less, and everything seemed gray and barren. Striped down. And exactly how I felt. It was a place where it was okay for me to cry and run and lose my breath– and keep moving because if I didn’t I would literally not be able to feel my face. Even as March approached, it looked like winter here wouldn’t end, and this didn’t strike me as a problem. Rather, it felt fitting.
But here’s the thing about seasons… they are temporary. I may have wanted winter to last forever, but Spring is always just around the corner. On this particular Sunday, Spring wasn’t just around the corner– it was in full effect, and RELENTLESS. Birds frolicked from branch to branch, and bush to bush. Flowers were everywhere. Trees which up until a few weeks ago reflected my emptiness were now full of adorable little green leaves bursting from their ends.
I have never wanted to start a forest fire more.
Instead, I cried on a park bench. I have become, by the way, an expert at public crying. The key is to not give a shit what anyone thinks about you. Should someone give you funny looks, fling the mucous which you are producing in abundance in their general direction.
After I collected myself, I headed back home for a spot of breakfast then to my prenatal yoga class. It seemed like a way I could “celebrate” Mother’s Day without actually doing any celebrating. Hell, I would have gone anyway– it just so happens that my class is on Sundays.
This week, Randi decided to do something a little different. Instead of our usual meditation on intentions for the practice, blah, blah, blah, we meditated on motherhood. This shouldn’t have surprised me– I was in a prenatal yoga class on MOTHER’S DAY after all– and yet my first thought was “Motherfucker, do we have to do this right now?!”
Part of the meditation was to think about the emotional connection that mothers have with their babies while carrying them. Just like they get nutrition from our bodies to grow, they also feed on our emotions and our state of mind.
“Well, my child is screwed because I’ve been an emotional train wreck since January.”
What am I teaching this kid? Am I teaching them to be sad all the time? That seems like a depressing legacy (literally and figuratively.) Just as I was about to burst into tears at the idea that I’m harming Chick by crying all the damn time, I caught myself. Rather than teaching Chick that life is painful and terrible and morose, perhaps I’m showing them how to love deeply and completely. While this can be painful and terrible and morose, it can also be such a gift.
The truth is that I’m not ready for Spring. I’m still hurt and sad and angry, and I’m not ready to give that up. Yet there is something comforting in knowing that eventually seasons change.