I’ve joined my friend Ruth’s Sharing Our Stories’ writing call – this week’s challenge is to reflect upon this:
Everyone you meet, everyone you scroll past on social media, everyone who is walking on this big rock of a planet has a storm brewing, a storm raging, or a storm calming around them. It is true for you. It is true for me.
There were many new traditions to learn when I first moved to America: the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday…and days devoted to celebrating one’s mother and father. Among these, I found Mother’s Day to be the most awkward, the day an inner storm was guaranteed to rage. I had yet to be reunited with my mother at that stage in my life, and the step-mother at hand was far from worthy of celebrating. My friends would make cards or write notes to their moms, and shop for this earring or that plant to present as a token of their love and gratitude. And I would be consumed with feelings of jealousy, loss, and longing.
When I eventually did come to know my mother, Mother’s Day continued to be awkward. I had already graduated from college and met the man I would later marry, when my mother and I met for the first time since she’d left our family. We were strangers; and in many ways, we would remain strangers over the decades that followed. I think it’s fair to say that neither of us was what we’d hoped for or even expected, and it’s taken years for either of us to reconcile reality with what we had imagined. And I would be, once again, consumed by feelings of loss, longing, and resentment.
I’m not sure when my attitudes towards this particular day began to shift, but I think that process began when my own children began selecting gifts and presenting Mother’s Day cards to me. Powerful feelings don’t subside all at once, or even quickly, but over the years that day became one I no longer dreaded.
Last Sunday, Mother’s Day here in the States, my children journeyed up from Brooklyn to celebrate their mother, me. We shared memories, laughter, and news. We took long walks and cooked together. There were, as always, fierce games of Scrabble and Monopoly.
I was sad to see their little blue winding it’s way down the ribbon of country road that would take them to the highway, back to their lives and loves in Brooklyn. But storms no longer raged within on this Mother’s Day.
I had become the mother I’d wanted in being the mother my children needed.