so, today is Mother’s Day. I’ve felt pretty ambivalent about this holiday–not because I don’t love my mother, or other mothers for that matter, but I guess it’s beginning to feel kind of pointless to celebrate these holidays at all. The days have no real significance for my mom anymore–she knows her routine and she will go along with whatever changes that we make to it, but the reasons why are generally lost.
In the past few years, I’ve found that my family and I try extra hard in our own ways to make these moments register as “special” to her, but beyond enjoying them in the moment, there is really no real connection to special occasions. This is a disappointing and sometimes frustrating reality and has made me begin to feel all “what’s the point?” Nine times out of 10, the gifts that take FOREVER to pick out because I’m trying to properly balance practical and thoughtful, remain untouched, unused, stored away someplace. Candy and other sweets are no good because of her diabetes, and she has plenty of clothes to last her a lifetime.
I officially gave up on gift exchange in April, her birthday. Nobody protested or even seemed to notice. I didn’t even think once, let alone twice, about getting her something for Mother’s Day.
I know this probably sounds horrible, but in a way, it’s a) a relief and b) a matter of acceptance. I am freeing myself from the belief that there will be something that will ignite a spark of excitement/interest that will last beyond that initial moment–nothing I buy her will “wake” her from this spell or “cure” her, and in fact, clutter causes confusion. It is a matter of acceptance because I have to accept the fact that this is how things are now. There will always be a bit of a bittersweet notion to our celebrations.
I didn’t really post too much about Mother’s Day today–with so many friends happily celebrating with their mothers or children, I didn’t want to be a killjoy about all the things I was feeling. I called my mom today early to see how she was and then went to see Iron Man 2 with Donnie in the afternoon.
When I came back, I decided to mention the Memory Walk on Facebook. It’s not ’til November and I’ve been hitting up people re: the Hoppy Hour pretty hardcore, so I haven’t been bringing it up a lot online, but I decided it might be a good day to recognize the cause and why it’s important to me–a way to recognize my mother. I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but it makes me feel like I’m doing -something- to change this thing that I can’t change.
Within minutes of posting, I got an email notification that I had received a donation. I read the email, surprised to see that my friend Joyce had just given to the cause. I wasn’t surprised that Joyce would give, but it’s just that we don’t get the chance to hang out all too often. But she’s probably one of the oldest friends I have: we grew up together and literally lived less than a mile apart for about 18 years. A lot of childhood memories revolve around Joyce: making ice cream from the snow that fell in her front yard, attending kid’s Bible study in her living room, and making tacos in her kitchen, with all the different choices and toppings spread out over the table. Later on, we ended up working at Borders together and following a similar path into the wide world of publishing. There are a lot of good memories tied up in this girl.
And there have also been sad ones. This past fall, Joyce’s mother, Anita, lost her battle with breast cancer at age 56. Today was Joyce’s first Mother’s Day without her mom.
I can’t imagine how Joyce must be feeling and how hard today must be for her, but she, being the stand-up person she is channeled that grief and did something positive with it: she ran for the cure. Along with thousands of other daughters and sisters and husbands and sons and others affected by cancer, Joyce and her family took to the streets of Philadelphia and they ran. They ran for their mother; they ran for other peoples’ mothers; they ran so one day no one will ever know what it is like to have to say goodbye to the one person in your life you should always have by your side.
And not only did Joyce run today for her mother, but she came home and then she thought of mine.
I am often amazed at the people that I have in my life who are so willing to support me and help me through my hard times. I know this sounds all ridiculous and cliche, but I am so lucky and so blessed to know that I know so many good people who are willing to help even when I’d like to believe I’m alone and helpless. Beyond that, I’m lucky to know so many people who make me realize that being all woe-is-me and self-centered about my own shit ain’t helping anyone. Even beyond that, these same people willing to help me are going through some rough patches of their own and I’m beginning to see that maybe there’s something I can do to let them know they’re not going it alone either.
To all my friends out there: I love you and I hope you know you never have to go it alone. I am here for you, the way you have always been there for me, when I was least expecting it and when I knew it was the only thing that could get me through.
On Friday (i.e., payday), I will donate to this worthy cause in honor of Joyce and her mom. And, if you can (on payday or before it), you should too.