I have a love hate relationship with Mother's Day. It began 20 years ago when my mom passed away of cancer at the ripe old age of 46. For the next 10 years I would dread the holiday, because while everyone was talking about their wonderful mothers, and doing things for their wonderful mothers, I only wished I had a mother still around to be a part of my life. Sacrament meeting was always down right painful, and usually left me in tears.
10 years after my mother died I became a mom, and my outlook on Mother's Day changed. I loved and still love being a mom. My husband was always really good about making sure I was spoiled on Mother's Day. You see for me Mother's Day was a bigger deal than my birthday. I feel like my birthday is a date on a calendar, determined by more than anything else by a date 9 months earlier when my parents were apparently enjoying themselves.....I really did not have a whole lot to do with the situation. Now Mother's Day on the other hand, well I feel like I earn that holiday.
That still does not mean that Mother's Day was without pain. Four years ago on Mother's Day I had to teach the Relief Society lesson and it was on death. Oh yeah that was fun...so you can see how the holiday of Mother's Day seems to follow me like a dark cloud.
Since soon to be ex husband and I separated (FYI divorce paperwork filed last week, so he really is soon to be ex husband), I now face Mother's Day alone. Its a working holiday for me. It never dawned on me until I became a single parent that being a single parent on a holiday that celebrates being a parent SUCKS! (What I am saying is next year for Mother's Day, think about those single moms you know and realize that while all the world is celebrating mothers, and showering mother's with attention, single moms of young children are silently and quietly doing the same work they do every. single. day.)
I really was not looking forward to attending church today and hearing the men in the ward speak about how wonderful their wives are and what great mothers they are, all while I am struggling alone to keep my children entertained in Sacrament meeting.
We arrived a few minutes early, sat in our usual spot, and waited for the meeting to begin. After a few announcements the opening song began, Love at Home. Half way into the first verse I saw a good friend get up and leave the chapel crying. We were far enough in the back that I doubted very few people saw her. I watched her walk out of the chapel, and head toward the bathroom. It dawned on me the hymn we were singing was the very hymn she sang with her family, nearly 7 years ago while her 18 year old daughter died of cancer. I knew immediately I had to leave and go find her. I asked my 9 year old to sit quietly with the other children and I excused myself. As I was walking to the bathroom it dawned on me that Mother's Day is a hard day for a lot of women, for a lot of different reasons.
I entered the bathroom, looked under the stalls and saw her shoes. I told her I was there and she immediately opened the door and we hugged. Her life was not easy before her daughter died of cancer and it has not been easy since. In that brief moment we both understood that Mother's Day not only celebrates what we have, but also represents a loss of what we no longer have, but wish we did.
Like I said I have a love hate relationship with Mother's Day.