I come from a fairly pragmatic family, and we aren’t much for Hallmark holidays. My own mother would always tell me, “We don’t need to celebrate. After all, every day is Mothers’ Day for me.” We agreed that every day is a day to appreciate whatever it is that we have to be grateful for, and the special holidays were more about selling greeting cards and frivolous merchandise.
Yet still, as much as this special day had never meant that much to me before, when this occasion came around as I was struggling with conceiving our second child, I felt a pang of heaviness in my heart. I did my best to paint a smile on my face for my 3-year-old daughter and my husband, but inside I felt mopey and a tad bitter. It was probably similar to how I felt about Valentine’s at times when I was single and lonely.
What can you do when society floods us with “Happy Mothers’ Day“ messages, if you're feeling something other than happy (perhaps even something far from happy)?
On this day this year, my own mother and her siblings will be sitting with their mother (my grandmother) as she rests at home in hospice. They will be taking turns holding her hands as she is gradually transitioning after 90-something years (there are conflicting records and she might be 93 or 96?)....born in North Vietnam in the 1920s, fleeing war with eight children, immigrating to the US, embracing nine grandchildren and eventually nine great grandchildren.
I never got to hear my grandmother tell her stories because of the language barrier, but I know she has lived a life of strength, dignity and grace. I will honor my mother by giving her space to be with her mother and by being fully present for her from a distance as she grieves. And I will also spend special time with my two precious munchkins and tell them how lucky I am to be their mother. Rest well, Bà Cô. I wish you well, and I wish you peace and comfort.
Is that a "Happy Mother's Day?" How do I find words? It's real life in this moment. And it's special in the ways we choose to make it. Make this Mother's Day your own way. It's your life story, and yours is a treasure in its unique way.