When Mother’s Day Means Being The One Who Let’s Her Go
This is to be Mother’s Day?
Sure doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to go down.
I find myself thinking about that this week.
I read countless posts about daughters celebrating with their mothers.
About bountiful brunch feasts.
About women so thankful to hold their children close.
Then, I look around.
At my holiday.
This Mother’s Day.
The first without my mother who passed last August.
There will be no celebrating with her, I tell myself.
Over and over.
It’s not that she ever made a big deal about the day,
As she didn’t with most holidays.
But at least she was here.
A phone call away.
The ability to hear her voice.
To wish her, “Happy Mother’s Day.”
To hear her say the same to me.
To celebrate my journey with motherhood.
With my daughter.
And what about that kid?
This year, Mother’s Day falls on the same weekend as my daughter’s high school graduation.
The weekend is not be about holding her close.
Rather, about letting her go.
She is so ready.
My turn is about up.
“This is a not so funny joke,” I say to myself.
Thinking about what I see as my losses.
My mother gone.
My daughter leaving.
Maybe your Mother’s Day is like this, too, Dear Reader?
About missing a mother who is not here.
About kids who are far away?
I binge on these sad thoughts like an open bag of sea salt potato chips.
It is then that I actually do hear my mother’s voice.
Not over the phone, or in person, as I was longing.
Rather in my head,
Where she swore it would never leave.
“I’m going to haunt you the rest of your life,” she half-joked in her final days, promising to do to me what her mother did to her.
And so she haunts.
Redefines this time.
“This isn’t about loss,” she says. “This is how this is all supposed to work.”
A mother lives a long life, her daughter will see her out, just as the mother saw her in.
As I did for you, you did for me.
If you raise your kid right, she will be ready to go.
“She is your daughter. Not your pet. Your job is to raise her to be independent.”
I will focus on Mom’s words as Daughter walks down the aisle in her cap and gown,
Smiling with the excitement of what’s to come.
Of where she’s going.
I realize now Mom will be here this weekend.
Even at graduation.
I haven’t lost her.
Just as I hope Daughter will often come back to me.
Pomp and Circumstance will be the music bed to hearing Mom’s words.
Job well done, Daughter.
For keeping your heart open for me to drop in.
For raising a kid who is ready to go.
These are reasons to truly celebrate.
This is motherhood.
This is exactly as it should be.
And if you enjoy this column about motherhood and family, you might enjoy my book,