I don’t know what I want today’s post to be. I could make it an homage to my own Mother who passed away 14 years ago – or I can make it a nice depressing lamenting post for those of us who have to endure the commercialization of Mothers Day even though our Mom’s are gone. Maybe, I will make it a little of both…
For about the last month, marketers keep sending me emails – “Don’t forget Mom! Send flowers to your Mom! Mothers Day is just around the corner!” Every place I have ever purchased anything from online is bombarding my inbox with messages to get me to buy my Mom something special (from them). You would think that with all the data mining they do – that they would know by now that I don’t buy anything for anyone on Mothers Day. I mean – they know that Stephanie is my partner (and they remind me to get her flowers), they know what size shoes I wear, they know I use social media. They know a lot about me – in fact at this point they know more about me than my own Mother did. I wish that somehow they could figure out that sending me emails reminding me to buy stuff for my Mom is hurtful in a way. I would LOVE to buy stuff for her – unfortunately death does not leave a shipping address.
I understand it. Mothers Day is a HUGE money maker for both large companies and small businesses. If I owned a company you can be sure that I would be reminding people to purchase something from me on every occasion I could. Hell – I would make up new holidays if I could. It is also brilliant in a way. They help keep us from forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Marketers have saved many men from the doghouse because they reminded them that their anniversary is coming up. I only remember birthdays now because Facebook tells me when everyone’s birthday is – now I can even send them a gift right from the message box when I wish them a happy birthday – how thoughtful of them to give me that option!
I used to forget my Mom’s birthday and I saw Mother’s Day as some sort of chore when she was alive. Too bad I didn’t have an email inbox back then. If I can dole out one piece of advice – don’t ever, ever forget your Moms birthday. Now though – I remember all too well when my Moms birthday is and Mother’s Day is always the most painful reminder for me that she is no longer here and I no longer have the ‘chore’ of getting her a card and letting her know just how much I love her. So here is the transition from commercialization rant; to something else…
My Mom is someone I didn’t fully appreciate until she was gone. I was 26 when she passed (24 when she was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer) and fully into myself and my problems and starting my own life and all that other 20-something stuff. I never took the time to ask her questions; questions that will now forever remain unanswered. I have SO MANY of them. Some of them are stupid questions, like I want some of her recipes that I used to love. More importantly though, I want to ask her about her life. My Mom was far from perfect, and had I been slightly less selfish when she was alive I would have asked her why she was the way she was. I want to know more about who my Dad was. I want to know why we moved when we did. I want to know why she stopped having friends and stopped dating. I want to know why she drank so much. I want to know where all the people went who were supposed to be ‘family’; I had people I called Aunts and Uncles when I was younger – they all disappeared at some point and I want to know why. Now I can only guess the answers to many of those questions and use the little pieces of information I do have to try and fill in the blanks. It is like a 1000 piece puzzle and the only pieces I have are the frame – the actual picture is an empty space where I know it should be filled in – at least a little bit.
Aside from unanswered questions, I wish she lived long enough to see me get out of my selfish phase to watch me turn into a responsible adult (sort of). I wish that she could have seen me graduate from college. I wish she had been there when I got home from my deployments (it really sucks when you get home and there is no one there to welcome you back). I wish that she could have met Stephanie. Stephanie actually gets a little upset sometimes that she never got to meet my Mom – in some ways even she feels cheated by my Mom’s death. Stephanie has questions about ME that really only my Mom could have answered for her.
So yeah. Mothers Day is filled with mixed emotions for me. On one level I want to ignore it completely, and on another level I am jealous of everyone going out to lunch/brunch/dinner today, waiting in lines at the flower shop, and the empty space in the Mothers Day section of the Hallmark card aisle. I envy the people who get those email reminders and go, “OH CRAP! I have to go get a card and send flowers!”
What I do know about my Mom is that she made HUGE sacrifices just for me. She worked two or three jobs almost her entire life. We were always poor, but I was never without. My Mom was both parents and considering how I turned out she did a damn fine job of it. My Mom loved me like no one else ever will. My Mom with all of her imperfections – was and will always be one of the very best friends I ever had. Knowing what I know now, I would send her a card every week and not just on Mothers Day or her birthday. I would have made sure that she knew without a doubt that I love and appreciated her. I missed my opportunity. I squandered my time with her in many ways. On the flip side of that though – even though I wasn’t always so great at expressing it – my Mom knew how much I loved her. I did have the opportunity to say goodbye and let her know when it really mattered that she was my biggest influence, my best friend, and that she did a great job raising me with the values I still hold dear.
To quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”
To all the Moms who read my posts – Happy Mothers Day! You guys have an amazingly hard job and really – you should get more than a day.