Mother’s Day Through the Years

 

Mother’s Day….what a happy, special, sometimes bittersweet holiday…to celebrate or remember…or wish and hope, or feel an overwhelming rush of mixed emotions.

The happiest of my Mother’s Days have been the most recent.  I’ve been so fortunate for the past six Mays to not only honor and cherish my own mom, but also feel the joy of being a mom to two fantastically amazing, gorgeous, and rambunctious boys.  But, not a Mother’s Day goes by that I don’t think of those who have already said “good-bye” to their own moms…..or who secretly feel an extra pang of sadness while others are celebrating because they’ve either so badly wished for children and have not been so blessed….or, unimaginably, they have had to watch their children leave this earth before them.

Not a Mother’s Day goes by that I don’t take a quiet moment to say “thanks” and to give pause to honor anyone who may secretly be hurting rather than celebrating.

My Mother’s Days have spanned over four decades….and, possibly like yours, they have run the emotional gamut.

1972:  My mom’s first Mother’s Day as the mother of me (she had already welcomed my older brother and sister into the world and was, by then, a pro).

1972-1989:  My school-aged years.  I’m sure I went back and forth as children do between celebrating my mom and missing the opportunity to celebrate her enough in my adolescent naive years.  I’m sure I made a slew of clay ashtrays (even though she never smoked) in addition to other art teacher inspired gifts.  I’m sure I wrote some poems, but I’m equally as sure I never attempted to cook for her or give her breakfast in bed…as that has never been an area of strength.  I’m sure that some years I made her smile with my thoughtfulness and other years, I am ashamed to say, I probably didn’t do nearly enough.  Either way she was always the most amazing, most inspiring, and bravest mom I know.  And still is.

1990-1994:  My college years.  I hope, dear goodness, that I at least called during these years. I was away in Virginia attending college and living the life.  For which I have her to thank.  And yet, I probably didn’t thank her nearly enough.

1995-2001: Grown-up Mother’s Day.  My clay ashtray making days were well behind me…and at some point school systems caught on to the fact that making ashtrays was not very PC.  We had some lovely trips to the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, maybe a polo match or two, and some shopping sprees.  Mother’s Day as a grown-up celebrating my mom gave me that much more respect for all that she did.

2002:  As a newly wed, Mother’s Day this year was full of “when will you have children?” or….even more importantly, between my husband and I, “Are we ready to have children?”

2003-2004: Loving being married, loving to travel, loving long days of boating and playing bocci ball on the beach….but, starting to think maybe there is more….

2005:  This was the Mother’s Day of trying like crazy to get pregnant….and starting to get irrationally angry that it wasn’t working out.

2006:  Having finally gotten pregnant, this was the Mother’s Day I had been waiting for.  The Mother’s Day where I would be almost 7 months pregnant and glowing.  But…it wasn’t in the cards.  This, instead, had somehow morphed (which seems like an odd word, but describes it perfectly in my memory) as the year that we lost our baby during pregnancy.  This was the Mother’s Day that not only was I sad…but angry and bitter.  This was the Mother’s Day that I had also learned that tumors had developed where the baby once was….and, soon there after, unkindly spread to my lungs.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was in and out of Boston doing some over night rounds of chemo.   This was the Mother’s Day that my oncologist told us that trying to conceive again in the near future was out of the question…even though there was already a crib in our basement and 1/2 of a journal written to the baby that would never be. This was the Mother’s Day that I did anything other than handle matters gracefully.

2007:  This was the Mother’s Day that, despite my doctors telling me that the best decision would be to terminate my new pregnancy because of the risk to my own health, I had refused and was now just 2 short weeks from welcoming a baby boy into this world.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was overcome with joy….and fear.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was elated….and terrified.  After Thatcher was born there would be follow up appointments to see if my tumors had come back….and those results haunted me.

2008: This was my 1st Mother’s Day…as a mom.  CatScans and follow-up appointments confirmed that no tumors had reoccured and Thatcher was amazingly healthy…as was I.  Thatcher was just 2 weeks away from turning 1 and there had never been a happier time in our lives.  Still, the hole…and the sadness, was there.  As was the thought, of “what if I had listened?”

2009:  Blessed again, this was the Mother’s Day that Finn was just 6 weeks away from gracing us with his incredibly vibrant presence.  This was the Mother’s Day that I was beyond grateful for our good fortune, but secretly felt like I was depriving Thatcher of being our baby by bringing home a new child before he was yet to turn 2.

2010-2014:  These have been the greatest of all. These have been the Mother’s Days that I have been in awe of how much the boys have grown and how crazy motherhood can be.  These have been the Mother’s Days that I don’t want to let the boys out of my sight, but, man, would I give anything for a night away.  These have been the Mother’s Days that I know I should spend the day going for bike rides with the boys and relishing in the motherhood that I so desperately fought for…but, sometimes I secretly wish that a moment of Mother’s Day involved margaritas with my other “mom friends.”  These are the days when I sit and smile as they play nicely side by side….and then think, “When was the last time I brushed my teeth?”

I am keenly aware, however, that there are others who are somewhere else on this Mother’s Day spectrum today.  And my heart aches for them…for whatever the reason.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all, whether you are celebrating or remembering….whether you are happy or sad.  Whether you are full of hope and dreams…or whether you are desperately wishing for a moment to brush your teeth and read a magazine :)

 

6 comments

  • Thank you so much Nicloe for sharing your very tender Mothers Day Through the Years.

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  • Beautifully written and touches upon thoughts that we all have at some stage…the good, the bad, and the ugly!

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  • Nicole, this is amazing to read. I wish my daughter had included you among the writers in the book that she and a friend have just edited “Labor Day”–they’re true birth stories by women writers. You may want to take a look at it. It must be at the Book Store. Thank you for what you wrote.

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  • Thank you for your very beautiful perspective on Mothers Day. The most personal stories are also the most universal.

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  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wrote this, not to overwhelm anyone with too much personal information or make anyone feel uncomfortable, but because I truly believe that we can all learn and grow by learning about and drawing from other people’s life experiences…whether good or bad. A few years after some of my hardest times, a friend and his wife experienced something similar and he sent me an email. I’ll never forget his words…amongst some other really nice things…he then wrote:
    “You had no idea, as you were chasing kids and dogs all over the place yesterday, probably about ready to pull your hair out…. but you helped me get through a very tough day yesterday. So thanks for that…..”
    If people don’t share their stories….then people can’t be helped by them…

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  • You are brave and beautiful- as a human and as a writer.

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