Mother’s Day Without Mom

When Life is Less Than Perfect.

Mother’s Day is a sweet day for me. I am well celebrated by my children and husband. I reside in the gentle beauty of my greatest role on earth — mother to my son and daughter. It remains the finest work I have ever done.

It is bittersweet for some. I’ve seen Facebook posts honoring moms, posts honoring moms who are no longer with us, those honoring stepmoms, and women who took on the role of mom.

Then, there is what isn’t said, which speaks volumes.

There are moms we could not celebrate today. There are those for whom the wounds are fresh, and those of us who have lived with loss and longing for a very long time. Why some mothers love and protect, and others don’t, remains a mystery to me.

Three decades ago, I had to abandon my mother. It grieved me deeply. It was a choice. Another act of will on the heels of several difficult decisions. And it hurt. I found this recently in going through old papers, and in that instant, my heart fell to its knees.

“Dear Mom,

“I am releasing me from you. I must open my hands, let go, and watch you slip away. The lady who carried me as I developed, who nursed me and gave me life, who must have experienced the miracle of birth as I did when I looked with wondering eyes at the perfection of my own children.

“By virtue of my birth there is connection there. By virtue of a child’s need to be loved, there is a bond there. By virtue of your betrayal to me, I now release myself from that connection. I mourn my loss. You were my mother. Only you did not know what that meant. My pretty, brown-eyed, brunette, “tomorrow’s-another-day” mom, who couldn’t deal with today, and buried all her yesterdays. I loved you. In letting you go I relinquish a part of my heart, but save my soul. Laura”

I’ve had decades to reconcile myself to this primal, wrenching loss. She was such a beauty. I can think back and find pearls of memory: Being snuggled in a rocker, catching a firefly and hearing her laugh, Christmas holidays filled with anticipation and tradition.

I have adopted Moms of the heart. I have relied on wise women to bridge the gap of what might have been had my Mom been different. So, on Mother’s Day 2017, unable to rescind the integrity of a decision made long ago, I did not post a note to my mom on Facebook, nor call her to celebrate.

This Mother’s Day will be filled to the brim with love, affection, and the laughter of my family. I am so lucky.

And as Dickens’ Tiny Tim would say, “God bless us, every one!”