Speaking to the Force (a.k.a. Mothers)

Monday, May 9, 2011

I heard them in the hall first, rehearsing. It was a cup of sweetness.

“When we go in, we’re going to say, ‘Happy Mother’s Day,’ got it?” my husband said in a stage whisper.

“Say Happy Easter?” our son responded, also hushed.

They did another run of it. Then the door opened slowly.

“Happy Mother’s Day!” my husband said.

QB paused, maybe to go over his lines in his head once more. “Happy Mommer’s Day,” he said gently. And I, of course, melted.

After he finished drinking his morning milk, QB and his dad scooted off to play, leaving me to myself, to sleep. Oh, lovely, lovely sleep. An hour later (8 a.m.), they returned. The door eased open again. This time my husband was carrying a tray with a delicious breakfast arranged on it. And the little guy was carrying gift bags—one blue, one orange.

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

“Happy Mommer’s Day!”

After we all ate in bed, my two boys left again to go play, and I was told to relax for a bit. We didn’t need to get hustling for brunch with my in-laws (Gammy and Grandpa) just yet.

I smiled at the thoughtful cards, the gifts. I thought about how darling Mother’s Day—or Mommer’s Day—is with a toddler who can add his singsong wishes to the day and carry the gift bags and scribble on cards. His own cute signature.

Soon I started thinking about other mothers: friends who were experiencing Mother’s Day for the first time this year; grandparents giddy with the idea that their child now has a child … and then my mind went to another group of women. Women who are negotiating their way through motherhood without the invaluable presence and guidance of their own mothers.

We’ve talked about motherless mothering here before. Heartbreaking. But on a day devoted to celebrating and thanking mothers … my eyes misted over.  I can’t imagine it.

Women, mothers, are strong. A force, really. Still, I want to send out a quick word to those of us who are trying to muscle through losing a mother—be it two months or 20 years ago. Mothers, your fortitude is remarkable. Know this as truth.

  • 1
    Stacy says:

    Thank you for this, Nicole. I lost my Mama last year in July, just four weeks after my father died. And mother’s day has always been hard for me since I was a mother, because my son’s father ended our 10-year marriage when our boy was just an infant. (And P.S. Your infant can’t say Thanks, Mom!) So instead of being a celebration of family, for me Mother’s Day is a little lonely, a poignant reminder of the fragility of life. So I went for my run in the park in the morning (while my son was with has father), sat on a blanket in the sun with my boyfriend (who has been a terrific father to my son, as well), had a few minutes of tears for my mother’s being gone. After that, I was able to have a joyous cookout on my Brooklyn stoop with my son: hot dogs and sausages and scooters and friends and smiles all around. For me mother’s day will always be a little bit dark, before I can let in the light.

    • 1.1
      Ms. Mary Mack says:

      Stacy, thanks for this touching comment. Glad that you were able to “let in the light” and find good moments in your complicated day.