Give Her What She Wants

"Super Phones for Super Moms In Super Colors! (snip) Stay connected while she's at home, at work, or on-the-go!"(Verizon)

(Shakes box, holds it up to ear.) Hello? Hello? Can you Hear me?

"Make Mom Proud. Get her Gifts there on Time!" (1-800-flowers)

Proud?! Bella saying "please" and "thank you" makes me proud. To be frank, I'm not sure what if anything about Maddy makes me "proud." Punctuality is really the least of it, though. I think it's ok if children just show up live, frankly.

"Send Your Extraordinary Mother extraordinary flowers!" (Robertson's Flowers)

That would be funny, considering you're rather an extraordinary daughter.

"It's not too late! Get mom an e-gift!" (Mountain Gear)

Oh, it's too late. Believe me.

"What is the best gift you can give to mothers everywhere this Mother’s Day? Healthy, strong and thriving children!" (March of Dimes)

Oh Sweet Jebus, is that ever an understatement. 


Believe me, you can't give me what I really want. That would include time travel and metaphysics and alien life-transformative powers only seen in the worst movies from the cheeziest of magic wands.

What is it though, to want nothing on a day like this?

In my estimation, Mother's Day is one of those truly awkward holidays for everyone involved -- and for the record, I thought this long prior to February 2007. Interestingly, the early proponents of "Mother's Day" in America in the late 19th century, were peace advocates (and the woman who is most credited with advocating for a Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, actually did so out of a longing to honor her dead mother). Mother's Day was proclaimed a National Holiday by Woodrow Wilson in 1914; an era when women probably heard tales of a generation not far behind that told of mother's losing sons in the Civil War.  Mothers in the early 20th century may have known a loss of their own during WWI. Also interesting was discovering that Jarvis grew distraught at the rampant commercialization of the day she had for so long proposed:

Jarvis became known for scathing letters in which she would berate people who purchased greeting cards, saying they were too lazy to write personal letters.  ----  MSNBC

Anyway, point being: the origins of this holiday, at least in this country, were already tangled with death -- the absence of mothers, the absence of grown children, gone off to serve their country. It was never meant to be a day where you bought diamond baubles or sent a Hallmark.

(Shakes box) If you're listening, I like sapphires better, anyway.

Because Mother's Day has become so ungodly commercial, it must, for it's economic livelihood, focus on the living. You cannot take a dead mother to brunch, buy her a cell phone plan, or send her a card. It puts pressure on daughters of mothers who neglected or abused, and I imagine, makes them wonder what they're missing -- having no one they'd really care to spend hard-earned money on.

Even for a day.

I could take you to breakfast, box, I suppose. You'd fit in my purse.

The flip side of this, of course, is that a dead child cannot purchase -- or, even imaginatively create -- you diamond studs or a necklace of twine, wood beading charms, and "flowers" (read: dandylion weeds). There is no entity there to cry through a meal of stuffed french toast, or hand you a self-picked bouquet of garden treasures (read: onion grass weeds and slightly molded azalea).

And there should be. Because you carried it, you birthed it, you longed for it. You probably longed for this day, the public outing at church, the family gathering where you could finally show your card at the door and receive admission into the club. The day that -- for a few hours -- put you on a pedestal, and gave you freedom to bitch about sleep deprivation and bask in gooey hugs and greetings.

This holiday is so difficult because while "everybody has a mother," the original intent of the matter has been lost: instead of merely thinking of or remembering yours, and contemplating the universal concept that everyone has a mother -- even the dead, we are supposed to buybuybuy and showshowshow. For those who have no mother to hug or greet, the effort seems lost in the application. I am so incredibly sorry if this holiday hurts you for this very reason.

And believe me, I'm also sorry if it hurts you because, although you're a mother, there's no son or daughter there to validate that simple fact.

Hallmark made it easy, Hallmark made it hurt.


Mother's Day '06: We sat in a coffee shop chain, on a rainy day, with a realtor, and put a bid in for our house (which we got). Maddy was conceived sometime over that weekend.

Mother's Day '07: I am still crying at the drop of a hat, and implore everyone I know to please leave me be and ignore it. Bella is too young to even know. I garden in silence. I stupidly think I can play with radioactive material, and leave the card store with my stomach up in my throat, unable to buy my own mother a card.

Mother's Day '08: I like the idea of a day of gardening. I ask for this. Bella makes me something in school. For my mother, I finally settle on a donation to NILMDTS . She seems genuinely touched.

Mother's Day '09: Four years of ignoring this holiday has had the cumulative effect of not even realizing it was approaching. There was no anticpatory anxiety because I completely forgot about it until Bella announced that she was making me a surprise at school, "For Mother's Day. It's a Plate."

"Shhh! Shouldn't it be a surprise?"

"What's on it IS the surprise!"

She made me open it immediately upon arriving at home last Wednesday. That was fine with me.

Today I'm working in the yard. I should be out there right now, sowing seeds in our recession vegetable garden, watching the neighbors walk and drive by, dressed up on their way to brunch, the museum, the mall. We'll all work, we'll grill some burgers. This year, after getting gobsmacked by a series of articles and opinion pieces on women in far away countries who lack adequate medical care during and after labor who then suffer from Fistulas, I made a donation to the Fistula Foundation in my mother's honor. Because I guess now more than ever, I believe motherhood should be more about healthy AND live, mothers AND babies.

(Sets box back up in bowl on the top shelf.) I miss you. I miss you so much.

Call me.


What are your feelings on this day -- or when Mother's Day falls in your country?  What do you do to get through?  Has babyloss changed how this day makes you respond to your own mother (regardless of that relationship)?  Believe me when I say, I'm thinking of you all.