So, when will Mother’s Day be about me? It sounds like a selfish question, but it comes from a place of genuine yearning. This is the question I ask myself every year. Unfortunately, for me, it is still about my mother, Madeline, and what the day means without her.
Sure, it’s a holiday designed by greeting card companies to make us buy more cards, but you can’t get away from it. It’s on television, online, on the radio, in magazines and newspapers. You are constantly reminded, oh, that’s right, I don’t have a mother to celebrate. For some reason, instead of realizing that I’m a mother too, and my kids want to celebrate with me, I immediately jump to the other conclusion.
So, this year, in honor of Mother’s Day, I decided to go back and look at some of the cards I had given my mother over the years that she kept. Most of them I hadn’t seen in decades, but discovered them in her house when she died.
There were the typical store-bought cards that I signed with flowery cursive handwriting dotted with rudimentary hearts. But then there were the personal notes that I had obviously put some thought into. One card in particular caught my eye. It was simple. It read: “Mom is my mother, Mom is my friend.” It went on to say how I didn’t tell her often enough that I loved her. I’m not sure how old I was, but the fact that it was written in loopy red Sharpie gives me the idea that it was in elementary school.
Upon reflection, my mother was my first best friend, and my closest friend in my adult life, and so in many ways while I miss her as my mother, I miss her as my friend even more. I miss our late night talks about nothing in particular that went on so long my bath water got cold. I miss our private jokes that made me laugh so hard I spit coffee through my nose. I missed our trips together and, most of all, I missed having someone in my life who knew everything about me and still loved me.
The truth is I don’t miss her any more on Mother’s Day than I do any of the other 364 days of the year. But it is a day when I am reminded that being a mother is much more than what you can find printed in a greeting card.
Being a mother is the undefinable place you have in your children’s lives forever, on earth and beyond. I only hope that like Madeline, I too will be a mother and a friend to my girls …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.