Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Missings

Possible Mother's Day missives from the deadone:

Geez, mom, would it kill you to do a few situps?

How come Bella's tree is bigger than MY tree?

Could you move my ashes out of that faux Tuscan thing you have me in, into something more meaningful (I mean really! Some depression glass kitsch from G'ma's would be more appropriate, no?), and then slide me out a bit on the shelf so I can see the television. Let her watch Spongebob more often -- dude cracks me up.

If dad's gonna use that room as an office, tell him to paint, please. But putting the rowing machine in there? Sweet.

You know, 2.5 years between kids is a death-knell (bwah! I slay me! HEE! there I go again!) anyway -- we woulda been at it like cats and dogs.

Miss Me.

Mom. You know that puzzle of Bella's -- it's a cow or something, and she's so effin' smart (hmph, she wishes) she puts it together without the picture reference, and it's wood and ergo Buddy ate a piece of it? And then she moped for days every time she saw the puzzle and refused to play with it because Buddy ate a piece. And then she finally tried to do it again, but because it was missing a piece, she kept trying to jam something else in that looked like it might fit and getting frustrated? And finally, one day she just made the puzzle, pointed to the empty gap and said "Buddy ate that piece." And now she makes it all the time, always ending satisfactorily, "Buddy ate that piece."

Do you see, mom? When it comes to me, I'm fine with you just missing.

Just miss.


Mother's Day seems to me one of those holidays, much like Valentine's, where someone originally thought "how lovely! How could this holiday possibly be a bad thing? Celebrating mom! Celebrating love! I mean, everybody's got a mother!" And then advertising and popular culture (term used extremely loosely) ratcheted up the expectations. And now, sadly much like Christmas, these holidays are all about how much, how unique, how original, and BLING. (Good Lord, do the people at DeBeers ever rest? Is this a good time to show off my Earth Day diamond stud earrings?) There's now a shitload of pressure on lovers/spouses/children to do something grand and wonderful and monetarily enormous every year. To outdo the last. I have a feeling even the best of moms in the best of situations often feel a little let down come 8:00 p.m. on Sunday when they think, "that's it? that's the thanks I get for being a mom?"

But we're not exactly the best of situations here, are we. I have a number of friends who lost their mothers, some quite early in their lives, some quite recently, and I think about how this day must feel empty to them. That they stare at the cards, wondering if they sent enough, expressed enough, cared enough when mom was here. There's no one to take out to brunch, just a Sunday with a lot of heart and open arms and no where to go with it.

And then there's infertility. I spent three mother's days wondering if I would ever be a mom, and I know there are people out there who have spent far more, and some who are realizing they will never be. This holiday felt like a slap in the face. A cold glass of water illuminating what "normal" people are like, and what I must be. What life should be like in a television program or advertisement, and sadly what it is. A holiday that excludes, not includes. It's not like St. Patrick's where you can, in your Lebanese/French descent put on a plastic green hat, pick up a beer, and party with the rest of them if you so choose.

And finally, there's us. Those who are moms to children who will never be able to make a card, who will never utter the words "I love you," who never opened their eyes to see us. In all probability Maddy never felt me or heard me either. There will never be thanks for my nine months of carrying her, my labor, my sleepless week, the decisions I made, the time I spent. I will never be appreciated by her for the time I gave her, in my mind and heart because I couldn't drive her, tuck her in, hold her after she fell, pack her lunch, and respond "I love you, too." Neither of us were given that opportunity.

There is only this, the missing. And I'm going to try, instead of being bitter and angry and excluded, to put on blinders, (perhaps fortified with a shot of bourbon,) work in my yard, and just miss.


Searching said...

Whether or not Maddy's "senses" worked, you have to believe her heart/soul felt SOMETHING. Felt your love, hopes, and dreams. She lived, had a life, so how could she not know on some deep level that she was your loved and desperately wanted daughter?

I think she would say "Mom, quit beating yourself up. You did the best you could, MUCH better than so many other so-called mothers out there. I know how much you love me. I see it in your tears so often, in your cries. I wish I could reach down and just for a moment be in your arms again. You are doing a good job with my big sister. I see that she is fed and clothed and seems to be an inquisitive and bright little girl. Definately a star in this world. I'll take this moment to mention that I'm a star in my own right. Yes, I am just as brilliant and beautiful as you knew I would be. How could I not, coming from the womb of such a gorgeous genius? Take it easy, you deserve it. Enjoy the bourbon. XOXO Maddy."

That's how I picture it anyway. Thinking of you.

Aunt Becky said...


You know that I heart you very, very much, right? Because I do.

And I hope that you get through this weekend unscathed. Or at the very least, we can have a cyber drinking party starting tomorrow at, oh, say noon CST?

Anonymous said...

"And finally, there's us. Those who are moms to children who will never be able to make a card, who will never utter the words "I love you," who never opened their eyes to see us."

BAWLING now! wondering if anyone, my husband, my mother, will remember that I too am a mother tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I deeply, fully believe that there are many kinds of knowing, many of which are not comprehended by us with our human limitations. On some level that we are not able to penetrate ourselves and scarely hope to believe in, I firmly believe that Maddy knew, and loved, and understood your love for her. It's not in a way that makes sense to us, but it is ever bit as real as what we understand ourselves.

I hope this doesn't sound like a dumb platitude but I really do believe it.

Mother's Day is tough. I can't even imagine how bad it is for yall. I am sorry that it rubs so much of this in your face. It's not so great for so many people. Having had to cut my life partner's mother out of our lives due to years of physical, then emotional and psychological abuse makes it a day that will always slightly be tinged with sadness and might-have-beens. And being deliberately out of town so she's not pounding on our door unannounced wailing and screaming and accusing. Fun times.

Sorry, didn't mean to make this about me. I guess we all have our stuff to work through on "holidays" such as this. Sigh.

Thinking of you.

G said...

Very well said, Tash. (and the dialogue, brilliant)

The fact is, Mother's day hurts so many people because of the missing, beyond us here in deadbabyland.

All there is, is the missing.

Julia said...

I was all set to say that you, you slay me. And then you go and skewer me, right through the heart.
I am mostly just missing, but I am still hiding out tomorrow.

STE said...

I don't even know what to say, because you said it exactly right.

But I love the story about how Bella struggled with that piece missing and finally just did her puzzle, despite the missing. "Just miss."

As someone who is on all three (?) sides of mothers day (no mom anymore, but a grandmother; infertile, but got pregnant; got pregnant, got halfway there, but no baby), I have something bordering on rage -- okay, maybe just hate -- about this stupid made up holiday set up to sell jewelry and flowers.

And yet I want to celebrate it. I want to be celebrated. I want to acknowledge my mother (to her live face) and be acknowledge as one.

Instead of having the sleepless weepy nights of screaming infants, I'll take some am.bien and sleep hard. Instead of juggling babies and things, I'll be bringing junkfood upstairs by the handful, where C and I will be cocooned in our room, watching stupid, childless tv and movies.

Somehow you always say it right, Tash. Hope your day in the garden is a good one. Have a shot for me.

Newt said...

Happy Mother's Day, Tash.

Beruriah said...

Oh, my heart. I thought I had steeled myself up for tomorrow until this. Please pass the bourbon.

Much love to you.

CLC said...

You said it perfectly. Thinking of you tomorrow. And please pass the bourbon.

Busted said...

What a wonderful post. You get everything so perfectly right. All we can do for our children is miss them...and the puzzle metaphor is right on. No matter what we try and do to fill that hole, nothing else will fit.

(((HUGS))) on this "holiday"...

c. said...

Hoping I can find some of those same blinders for tomorrow. Maybe I'll find them at the bottom of a rye and ginger with a twist of lime.

Happy Mother's Day, Tash.

Antigone said...

Crap, it's tomorrow, huh? It's a kick in the b@lls for us.

Lori said...

Pull some weeds and have shot for me.

It's become a silly, made-up day anyway. Still... it's there, and for those of us "missing" it does sting.

niobe said...

I still think of Mother's Day as a day that's all about my mother. Which makes me sad too, though in a different way.

loribeth said...

Missing right along with you. Today would have been my grandmother's 94th birthday too. I hope you're having an OK day!

janis said...

((hugs)) Tash. No matter what you write, you cut it straight to the core.

ms. G said...

Yeah, I'm thinking this holiday sucks. You know, I like that you mention St. Patty's day. Now THAT is a holiday I can still get into, because lets face it, I probably wouldn't not be bringing M to drink green beer with me. So, it is a safe holiday, not one that fills my heart with sadness.

Alice said...

Maddy does know you. She spent nine months hearing your heart beat so she knows you very intimately. And she is immensely grateful for the time that you spent carrying her. And she loves you even though she can't say it. But having said all that I know that Mother's Day does feel pretty awful.

With love,