I won’t tell you how upset I am, or how devastating it can be in the seemingly meaningless moments of everyday life. I won’t explain to you the long stare I give to the cards, the “pamper her” soap and lotion combos, the cheap trinkets with “mom” etched into the front of them-no. I won’t explain any of that when you ask me how I’m doing with the big, sorrow-filled eyes, brows raised and forehead crinkled, expecting me to start crying. Instead I’ll respond robotically “I’m okay” or “I’m keeping busy” followed by a nod – I rotate through those responses you know.
I can’t help but keep thinking about it all as Mother’s day approaches; I also can’t explain anything I’m feeling in person. It just wouldn’t make sense – the ways that I took having a mom for granted. I guess because we’re all born with one, I just assumed we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, especially if you felt they probably wouldn’t be a candidate for Mother-of-the-year. I suppose I stay bitter about a lot of things, but if I could take my resentment back for her – I would in a heart-beat because I thought I had time, and I didn’t think that eventually I’d up saying I don’t have any parents at all – not this soon in life anyways. I guess I should say sorry – and the only way to do it is putting it down on paper or saying it in my head when I’m laying down at night.
I took the fact that I grew up kind of weird with a “broken home” as they call it, and ran with it. I wanted to be angry and have a reason to stomp out any holidays celebrating parents because I felt cheated in that department. And so even after my dad was out of the picture (he wasn’t in it very long to begin with), I decided that my mom was like an odd piece of furniture in my life. She was there and sometimes she could be useful, but she was heavy and hard to move when my life needed re-arranging. And so when I got older, even when she tried to be there for me, I decided it was too late. Sure, we had a relationship after – if that’s what you’d call the occasional phone call and obligatory holiday visits where I had to paint a smile on.
It’s weird though, once you’ve decided in your head that a person just isn’t worth your energy life will make you change your mind whether you’re ready or not. The last precious week or so I had with my mom was probably the most time I’d spent with her in a while; I’d sat in those cold, cushioned hospital chairs and thought in my head about how I wouldn’t ditch holidays, including Mother’s day anymore if the universe would just let her live, or have some mercy. I apologized to her eventually limp and bony hand many times that week, begging the world to stop spinning because nothing made sense. Nobody heard me though.
And so when you find yourself in moments like this – the one where you’re standing there at 7am on a bone-chillingly cold Sunday morning in early March, the floor falling out from under you while a mere stranger with a soft voice and kind eyes tells you they’re sorry – I guess you start asking yourself what else you’ve taken for granted, or how much anger is really worth it, how many apologies you’ve declined; because at the end of it all, you’ll always be reminded of all of it, whether it be holidays, birthdays, and yes, Mother’s day; and you’ll sit there in a grocery store pausing on those stupid Mother’s day arrangements thinking about it all.