This Mother's Day I am observing an acute kind of revelation. For me, Mother's Day has never been anything but light, cheerful, loving and celebratory. It has been a holiday solely for my mother. To reward her, in some small way, for her time and love that she has invested in all of us throughout our lives. I have a wonderful mom. She feels deeply but doesn't often show it, she remembers all things and can find anything that's lost, she shows love through gifts of hard work and dedication, and is always loyal, funny and steadfast. I am who I am because of her constant presence in my life, which has always included stellar advice and lots of pedicures. I am thankful for her this Mother's Day and always.
This year, possibly for the first time, my eyes have been more personally opened to a much more complex Mother's Day. Emotions that are both bitter and difficult. Empathies that reach out to a much larger audience of people in the world that may view Mother's Day with something other than lighthearted, celebratory vibes.
I miss Poppy today. My heart and mind is filled with thoughts and pangs for the other women I know (and the many thousands that I do not) that have lost children through miscarriage as well. I fight against the overwhelming sorrow for so many lost dreams and shattered hopes, for the families that should have been. For the broken women that feel so alone, even though there are so many of us that have experienced this loss. My eyes fill with tears as I type, because we often don't get to be celebrated as mothers. We dare to feel like mothers, to miss our children and to grieve their loss daily, but we are the silent moms of children destined to surpass this earth before they even have the chance to breathe in its air. It's the one comfort, really, that they are in heaven before us. But while we wait here without them, today can be a very lonely day.
I have begun to see, and perhaps better understand, the complexities of Mother's Day for so many of us. For hearts that yearn to be mothers, but have been unable to have that dream realized. For those who have lost their mothers, whose grief is magnified on this day meant to honor them. For children who were abused or abandoned by their mothers. For mothers whose children have passed away, or whose children are far away from them in other ways. For stepmoms and foster moms and adoptive moms. Complexities.
Many of these thoughts were prompted by an email from my cousin, who wrote me the most thoughtful and tender message to let me know that she was thinking of me this Mother's Day. She wanted me to know that my feelings matter, my lost baby matters, I matter. And as I write out all of these thoughts that echo or respond to her message, I feel a strange sense of camaraderie with the world. I feel less alone. We all have mothers, and it's a relationship that defines us all forever. It's a relationship that matters immensely, and whether this day brings joy or pain it is a day that we all feel. Those feelings matter. You are not alone.
Even those of us who have been hurt by mothers or motherhood in some way or another have also been blessed by it. Motherhood is one of the strongest strands of our existence, whether it's directly related to our DNA or not. We observe motherhood daily and see its effects on people, ourselves included. I wrote a post once about us all being velveteen people, made real by love. I suppose that means I am a velveteen mother. It is embedded in my identity now. I am defined not by my loss but by my love.
To the velveteen mothers in my life and beyond, I am thinking of you and your little ones today. I am missing them and looking forward to holding them. If I get to heaven before you, I promise to cover them in kisses. For those who are hurting or remembering or grieving anew, know that your feelings matter, your heart matters, and you are not alone. There is hope and there is healing. I long for you to have the beauty of joy on this Mother's Day. For those that are celebrating mothers and motherhood in all of its forms this morning, God bless you and your beautiful moms, both here and in heaven. We are so blessed to have mothers that have enriched our lives in so many ways.
(I love you mama dearest, you are the most supreme blessing. Happy Mother's Day).
Happy Mother's Day for all.