Big days are hard because I'm often overwhelmed by the expectations and end up just wanting to retreat into myself and do nothing. When Mom was alive, Mother's Day was inevitably one of unfulfilled desires and heaviness. Our relationship was complicated so the ease that allows for imperfection did not exist. And striving for the perfect day was not authentic to our relationship. So however the day was acknowledged, I was left either feeling guilt-ridden for not doing enough or tied to a commitment of false closeness that couldn't be fulfilled.
Now that Mom is gone and I am left to pick up the mantle, that too feels awkward. My son and I are close and we regularly express our feelings for each other...no special day is needed to reinforce our connection. Because I didn't have this with my own mother it is now one of the greatest gifts of my life. Even so, when Mother's Day rolls around each year the guilt ghost of the past returns and I feel anxious about accepting some self-imposed duty to be more motherly, to be 'extra' something. As both a daughter and a mother the unease of this day remains.
I envy those who delight in spending a day with their mothers feeling comfortable and relaxed in the knowledge that nothing needs to be proven, that the important stuff has already been expressed. For others like me who face their own struggles - who strive to make the day meaningful but never quite hit the mark - I salute your efforts and wish you peace on this Mother's Day.
Photo from USA Today.com