Celebrating Mother’s Day Without My Mom
Mother’s Day has been hard these past few years because we no longer have our mother with us to celebrate it with.
And though I will admit that it can be sad at times, and I have moments when I miss her so much I want to cry, Mother’s Day, like most every day in my life, is a day I celebrate the woman who taught me the meaning of unconditional love.
We often talk about mothers feeling such a thing for their children, but what about those women who take on children not born from their womb, and love them just as much anyway?
I was not my mother’s child, not biologically. My mother Cynthia was my father’s second wife. I met her when I was 5 years old and I didn’t want anything to do with her. Not at first at least. But somewhere along the lines I fell in love with this woman. She was kind and caring, tender and loving. I came to know her as my mom and I was her daughter. When my brother was born, we were her children and she did for me as any mother would for her child.
Even when she and my father divorced, even when the divorce was ugly and painful, even when she didn’t love my father anymore. I remained, till the day she died, her daughter.
My mother had a choice to not love me. She had the choice to divorce me when she divorced my father. She had the choice to end the relationship we had after the relationship with my father fell apart.
But, instead, she didn’t. She chose to be my mother and never once since she made that choice did she ever change her mind.
No other person alive or dead has ever managed to teach me a greater lesson in love than my mother Cynthia did.
I guess I grew up always aware of the choice my mother had made, and maybe at first I was a little afraid that she would regret it.
But I remember the day I realized my mommy didn’t regret it, and I believed that she was here for me forever. I was in 2nd grade and my school was hosting a Halloween costume contest. I was a clown and my costume needed a lot of face make-up that I couldn’t put on myself. My mother promised me she would be there to help me.
I was nervous. My mother at that point was a single mom to my brother and I (yes, she kept me even after the divorce with my father until he took me away from her), and she worked full time. I was nervous she wouldn’t come.
But she did. I remember her rushing into the classroom, a bit flustered with a bag of make up in her hand.
All the kids in my class were prepping to show off their costumes on stage, and I sat in a corner, with my mother in front of me, slowly covering my face in white paste. She spoke to me gently, apologizing that she couldn’t stay to watch me compete, but wishing me luck and saying she couldn’t wait to hear all about it when she got home that night.
I remember looking into her eyes. My mother had beautiful, gentle green eyes and soft skin I used to love to caress. I remember thinking how beautiful she was.
I didn’t win the contest that day. By the time I got home, the white paste had dried up and was starting to crack off my face. It didn’t matter. Because that day is most remembered as the day it finally hit me how much I meant to my mother and how much she loved me, even though I knew, even at that age, that she didn’t have to.
But she did, and she does still, I know it.
And on this Mother’s Day, like on every Mother’s Day till I die, I will love and celebrate her in turn.