I started hating Mother's Day when I was 14 years old. It wasn't simply an act of adolescent rebellion - it was the age that my mother died of cancer.
From that point on, Mother's Day often arrived in a storm of tears, nausea, dread and jealousy. I wanted to be the one making cards and buying gifts. I wanted to serve burnt waffles with too-cold butter to my mom in bed. I wanted all the warm feelings and melodramatic sweeping music that was portrayed on the Mother's Day specials on my favorite sitcoms.
Every year, the dread would start in March, grow throughout April, and then capsize in May. By actual Mother's Day, I was depleted from all the anticipatory anxiety I had been building up and just felt depressed. I hate to say it, but it stayed this way for many years.
At one point, I decided that enough was enough. I would reclaim Mother's Day by making it a celebration of my father, since he had to be both father and mother on a daily basis. SeveraI years later, I expanded it to include my aunts and grandmother. Once I became a mother, I realized that I wanted to find a way to make peace with my grief so that I could enjoy the day with my own family.
So, it's been a work in progress. I do not love Mother's Day by any means, but I no longer dread it. In fact, I often forget about it until someone mentions it to me. I now use it as a way to pause and honor my mother as well as honor all of the other amazing women in my life. I use it as an excuse to kiss my sweet girls' faces and take in their scent during a tight hug. And this year, I'm doing something new. I am offering other women in my community a chance to start their own healing process and reclaim the day. I expect it to include a lot of tears, a lot of laughs and who knows - maybe I'll even bring in some burnt waffles.
Happy Mother's Day, y'all.
10/13/2022 10:59:13 am
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Kelly is a licensed clinical social worker in South Jersey.
24 Lees Avenue
Collingswood, NJ 08108