I didn’t go to church this morning. There’s going to be lots of corsages & happy families who already have their special lunch planned. And the annual baby dedication, with all the babies who’ve been hatched in the past year lined across the front in their best baby finery. I was supposed to sing in the choir — I was COMMITTED to sing in the choir. But I didn’t go. I didn’t even call or text to let them know I wasn’t coming… I just didn’t show. Instead I’m here with my laptop & coffee in my pajamas eating a giant piece of Grandma’s pound cake.
This is my third motherless Mother’s Day. And my second since the loss of our pregnancies. I’m not crying. I’m not gnashing my teeth or even being bitter. I’m just tired. Last weekend, we did everything possible to celebrate my mother’s birthday in a way that honors her appropriately. We remembered her, we loved on her grandbabies, we loved on her parents. We cried & laughed & ate at her favorite restaurant. As Susanna said, this was the first time Mama’s birthday has felt “ok.” As small a descriptive term as this seems, feeling “ok” on the day that should have been your mother’s 53rd birthday is a huge deal. It’s growth. It’s progress. And this past week & weekend, I’ve maintained my composure in the face of the Hallmark Mother’s Day onslaught. This is the first Mother’s Day that I haven’t wanted to throw something at the tv during every gushy, lovey Mother’s Day commercial. I’m getting better at this. I can see that progress is being made.
But I didn’t go to church. And after a full night’s sleep, I’m still tired. If I let down my guard for even the briefest moment, thoughts of “It’s just not fair, damn it!” are lurking. Bitter, ugly, hateful, selfish thoughts. Looking at facebook this morning is like picking at a scab that’s just barely formed.
I had the thought that I should go to Mama’s grave today. But I’m not going to. I’m not brave enough or stupid enough. It would just be too much. Instead, I’m going to watch mindless movies & pretend like this is any other lazy Sunday. But before I do that, I’m going to do this one last thing… In Mama’s room after she died, we found three copies of the book “Someday,” by Alison McGhee. I’ve tucked mine away in my Mama Box, a beautiful fabric-covered box in my bedroom where I keep the things that hurt. But I’ve opened the lid & slipped the book out without disturbing any of the other contents.
On this (un)Mother’s Day, I can’t think of a better love letter from a mother to a daughter.
One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one.
One day the first snowflakes fell, and I held you up and watched them melt on your baby skin.
One day we crossed the street, and you held my hand tight.
Then, you were my baby, and now you are my child.
Sometimes, when you sleep, I watch you dream,
and I dream too…
That someday you will dive into the cool, clear water of a lake.
Someday you will walk into a deep wood.
Someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine.
Someday you will run so fast and so far your heart will feel like fire.
Someday you will swing high — so high, higher than you ever dared to swing.
Someday you will hear something so sad that you will fold up with sorrow.
Someday you will call a song to the wind, and the wind will carry your song away.
Someday I will stand on this porch and watch your arms waving to me until I no longer see you.
Someday you will look at this house and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small.
Someday you will feel a small weight against your strong back.
Someday I will watch you brushing your child’s hair.
Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun.
And when that day comes, love, you will remember me.