During the last nineteen years, I have viewed the approach of Mother's Day with a mixture of feelings that were not in the pleasant spectrum of the warm and fuzzies. No, I don't have a problem with honoring one's mother on this day. In fact, I think mother's should be honored more throughout the year. Let me explain.
My husband and I married later in life: I was thirty-three and he was thirty-five when we were married. We tried for a number of years to have children. My one pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. We had just moved to a new state; I hardly knew anyone, and my family was five hundred miles away. If you've never experienced losing a pregnancy, it's hard to imagine the pain that is there. For a number of years, the thought of Mother's Day approaching filled me with sadness. Every time I'd turn on the TV, there was the perfect mom with the perfect kids, all smiling and laughing and ogling the large diamonds that the mother was receiving for Mother's Day. I couldn't go shopping without some idiot twenty-something cashier wishing me "Happy Mother's Day!" They didn't realize with the sounds of money clinking in their registers an echoing in their brains that not everyone who is born with female parts and is over the age of sixteen is necessarily a mother.
I was sitting on the couch last night, happily knitting a baby blanket for a fellow teacher at my school. I just found out she was expecting yesterday and is not returning to school, so the time is limited to get this to her. She is a very sweet person and I am thrilled for her. I'm also awaiting a package of special fiber to spin and knit for my only niece who is now expecting her first-born this fall. I realized that I was completely happy about both upcoming births.
It takes a while to recover from losing a child, even those who are never born. I have come to terms with mine over the years. It's something you never "get over," but it has become for me more of a numbing or a fuzzy memory tucked away in a trunk in an attic which I visit more and more infrequently. Part of it is the distance just naturally growing further and further away, like noisy gulls growing quieter as they head out over the water. Part of it is knowing how exhausted I feel when my last group of students finally leave my class at the end of the day and wondering where their mothers find their energy. Sometimes age can be a blessing.
I guess what I'm asking here in this posting is more awareness on the part of my fellow humans. There's a desire on the part of a lot of us to include others in our celebrations, to reach out with our long arms and pull everyone within earshot into our lives, but not taking the time to know if the person wants to be included. Between bloggers (like me), twittering and CNN, it's hard to not know everything that's going on everywhere and with everyone. I personally have an aversion to local news just because it's too close to where I live. I feel too much like a voyeur and judge of others that I could possibly know. At some point, I feel the need to pull back and make a choice of what I wish to feel or think about or even know about without being dictated to.
When you wish someone a "Happy Mother's Day!," make sure it comes from your heart and the person you're wishing it to is glad to hear this. I plan on saying this to my friends that I know have kids and are glad of it. I also plan to say this to my sister and my mother, both of whom deserve to hear it. It's not my job to spread this message to every woman over twenty even if the card companies want me to. They may not wish to listen. And if I've bummed you out by this posting, that was not my intent. At least you have the choice of x-ing me out.