Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Last Mother's Day Card

This is my first Mother’s Day without a mother. It snuck up on me. Well that’s not strictly true, I’ve been ignoring it. I wince at Mother’s Day ads, move quickly past the aisles of cards. It is no longer relevant to me.

I bought my last Mother’s Day card last year. It ended up in the collage book my mother was working on before her death. When I went through the house after she died, I found decades of old Mother's Day cards celebrating our relationship. I always looked for cards that spoke of our genuine friendship in addition to that lucky accident of birth. As my mother’s memory faded, her artistic sense remained. Then I began to choose cards that I knew would appeal to her visually, taking it as a compliment if it ended up collaged into one of her artistic creations.

This year I am a motherless child. How forlorn does that sound? And yet that exaggerates. My mother is always with me. Over the last few years, I would think about how I could store up the affirmation that I received from her regularly, suddenly realizing that she would not always be there, my best cheerleader no longer leading the cheers. Does a tree fall in the forest if no one hears it? Do I do something of worth if my mother isn’t there to do her mom thing? If our mothers do their job well, we do carry them within us. Their presence is so strong, after years of support, that we just know what they would say and we say it for them.

Oddly enough, for someone with no shortage of words, I don’t have a lot to write about this topic. I think it is because this was a relationship fully lived, love fully given, no loose ends or unfinished business. Sometimes we have the opportunity to do things right and when we do there is a sense of fulfillment, completion. It is both rare and precious. Most relationships have more complexity, more strife, more left unsaid lest we rock the boat.

And so on this Mother’s Day, I have only gratitude, both for all I was given and for the opportunity to give back. May you all be as fortunate.


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