Tuesday, May 26, 2009
For some reason, I always had a boyfriend or an admirer at that time of year. I didn't plan it that way, it just always happened. As Valentine's Day would roll around, I felt no dread, only excitement about the potential surprises that awaited me from whatever love interest I had at that time. I was also anxious to surprise him with something fun.
I'm sure I thought about those who had no romantic prospects. I consider myself an empathetic person, for the most part. I must have experienced a fleeting consideration for those who found that day to be depressing and lonely. Seemingly, however, I must have moved on quite quickly to the excitement of my day.
I have no doubt that, should motherhood have come easily, I would have had the same attitude toward Mother's Day. Consumed in the pleasures that came with celebrating and being celebrated, I imagine any thoughts about those left out would have been brief. I know I would have felt sad for those who had no mother to celebrate, but I hesitate to think I would have remembered those who remained childless.
Among the millions of people living in this country, there were surely millions who felt pain this Mother's Day. Some were people who's mother passed away. Others were people who never knew their mother or are estranged from their mother. Also, there were mothers hurting because they have lost their children and those mothers whose husbands / children did not make Mother's Day special for them, leaving them disappointed. And, of course, there are the women who could not become mothers.
When Father's Day rolls around, these same painful feelings will be felt by a whole new set of people.
This Mother's Day, I reflected on holidays in general and found myself dividing them into two categories: event oriented and people oriented. Event oriented holidays would include those holidays that celebrate an event: Easter, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
The second set celebrates people. There are holidays that celebrate groups of people in a community sense, such as Veteran's Day. Then there are the holidays that celebrate individual people in a relationship sense: Mother's Day, Father's Day, even Valentine's Day.
Now I'll throw something out there... Do we really need these 'relationship' holidays? I'm not saying we don't. It was just an interesting thought to explore.
We have Valentine's Day to celebrate the love between two people. Couldn't that be done on an anniversary? And in a much classier, personalized, and intimate way? No more paying $200 for a sad vase of flowers and trying to make reservations in an over-crowded, over-priced restaurant. You celebrate your love on a day that is special to YOU. Or you could celebrate these people just because you love them. I have to say that I don't remember many things Ryan did for me on various Valentine's Days, but I'll never forget the random day he sent me flowers just because.
Likewise, Mother's Day and Father's Day are there to show our parents how much we love and appreciate them. Couldn't this also be done on a day that special to your relationship? Their birthday? YOUR birthday? What about sending a note to mom, or taking Dad out to dinner just because you love them. Seems this would mean so much more. No longer is your kind gesture perceived as fulfilling a societal obligation, but it is now a token of selfless giving. I would love to wake up and find my children greeting me with soggy cereal and burnt toast on a random Saturday morning, not because it was Mother's Day and it was expected.
I know mothers work hard and are often times unappreciated. I fully believe that having a day to honor them is wonderful. I enjoyed visiting with my Mom this year on Mother's Day. I look forward to sharing Mother's Day with my children someday.
But even when that day comes, I know that Mother's Day in my eyes will always be different than it would have been, had motherhood come easy. I will never be able to enjoy it as carefree as I enjoyed those Valentine's Days long ago. A little bit of the innocence and blissful naivete has been lost. On that day, my thoughts will always wonder toward that 'other' group of women: the ones gritting their teeth, swallowing their tears, and praying for the day to be over.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So, Mother’s Day… You would think after 5 previous heart-breaking Mother’s Days, I’d be used to it by now! Well, this one was better than some, and I made it through alright. I had one tiny breakdown in the shower, but the day seemed to get better as time progressed.
The following is a memoir of my day. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Notice how the good completely outweighs the bad…
- Having my parents over that evening for dessert.
- Giving my mom a card and a poem.
- Having my mom alive, healthy, and able to celebrate with me.
- Avoiding having to stand there with all the ‘real’ moms at church to accept my “Mother’s Day treat”
- My Bishop saving me a “Mother’s Day treat”, finding me in the hallway to give it to me, and offering words of encouragement.
- Getting to be in Sunday School and the Young Women’s classes. The Sunday School lesson was on the Sabbath Day and the YW lesson was on the Priesthood. No ‘Mom’ references anywhere! Last year, I was in Primary, helping the kids make something for their moms and answering their questions about why I’m not a mom, even though I’m old. (Good luck explaining infertility to a 7-year-old!)
- Taking my usual Sunday nap, and wondering how many moms actually get to do that on Sundays.
- Emails and cards from dear friends who were thinking about me. People who asked how I was doing. You know who you are. That was above and beyond. It’s nice not to be completely ignored on Mother’s Day!
- Did I mention the “Mother’s Day treat” was See’s Candy???
- Almost having to teach the young women’s lesson last minute. I had horrid visions flash before my eyes that the topic would be Motherhood.
- Carrying anxiety that at any moment someone could say something that would make me lose it.
- Having to answer, “No, I’m not a mom” to the people who asked.
- The general feeling of bitterness that I kept swallowing down all day, and the guilt that comes from such a feeling.
- Logging into Facebook to see page after page of friends wishing other “mommy friends” a happy Mother’s Day. Not to take away from their celebration, it was just hard reading about the sweet things their children were doing for them. Made me excited for the future, but sad for the present.
So there is the breakdown. Not too shabby!
A couple years ago, there was a total meltdown that led to the breaking of a COMMANDMENT in the frantic search of solace. As LDS church members, we believe in keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Part of that is not shopping, going out to eat, etc on Sunday. Well, that Mother’s Day was so bad, as I was sobbing in the front seat, Ryan drove me straight to Baskin Robbins. When I looked up and wondered why we were there, he simply said, “Get out of the car. We’re getting ice cream.” The poor guy didn’t know what else to do with me!
As I said, I’ve had worse. This one, not so bad! Maybe they’ll get better over time?
Only 363 days until I find out! Let the countdown to next Mother's Day begin…
This Mother’s Day post will be continued. I have been having some interesting thoughts about Mother’s Day, and certain holidays in general, which I plan to share at a later time.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I typically leave for work before hubby gets home. However, this morning, I was pretty tired and decided to sleep in.
Hubby came home and, after some chatting, we had the following conversation:
R: Well, don’t you have something to show me?
R: Don’t you have something to show me?
Me: (After some thought) Do you mean a pregnancy test???
R: Yeah, when I got home and opened the garage door and saw your car still there, I thought you had stayed home and waited because you had something to show me.
Me: Oh, well, I wasn’t thinking about something like that… I wouldn’t get your hopes up…
Me: You look disappointed…
R: Maybe we’re switching roles…
It was really nice to see him disappointed. I know that sounds mean, but after years of feeling alone in this struggle, it’s nice to feel that we are playing on the same team. Don’t get me wrong, he has been very supportive of me. Just not emotionally invested in the goal. I caught a glimmer of that today and it felt great!
Side Note: I plan to address the topic of Mother’s Day 2009, just haven’t been able to yet. I have many, many thoughts and look forward to sharing them soon.