Motherless Mothers

These past few days my facebook feed has been filled with essays about what it’s like to be a motherless daughter, and how much pain this causes on Mother’s Day. But the same is not true for me.

As mother to three young children caught up in my own celebratory day – well, “celebratory” may be a bit of a stretch; the big thing is that my husband takes the kids to their activities while I get to go for a long run and then lie around and read – I am not thinking so much about my mother.

The truth is that I miss my mother more on all the other days of the year when I am running around doing simple things, like on a Friday afternoon when I go to the bakery to buy dessert for Shabbat, which I used to do with her when I was little. I miss her when one of my children has an accomplishment, or says something knowing and hilarious and precocious that I know would make her proud, like the other night when my friend’s teenage daughter said she was going to China and my five year old replied, “I’m just not that into dictatorships.” And I miss my mother in the summer when we go out to my father’s house in Rockaway Beach and discover, as if it is somehow, after nearly eleven years, still news, that she is not there to open the door, kiss all of us hello, hug us and make us lunch. For what is a mother but someone who does things for you, and without any expectation that one day those acts of kindness might somehow be repaid?

I love my children more than anything, and on Mother’s Day it is a pleasure, and a gift, to see them express that love back to me be it in handwritten cards and their cleaning up the kitchen. And to be all caught up in the love and frenzy of that and not thinking about the love that I have lost, and she who I have lost, well, that seems like a gift to me too.