After 30 Motherless Mother’s Days…

Mother’s Day can mean a lot of different things to people. It’s meant to be a day for us to honor our moms, motherhood, and the maternal influence that women have in our society.

But let’s face it…. it’s really just all about moms.
And it can be a painful holiday for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.

When you’ve spent almost thirty Mother’s Days without your own mom here on Earth, it becomes a holiday you observe other people celebrating.

On the outside, looking in.

Like the elusive “Bank Holiday” you see on a calendar. Or the independence day of a foreign country not your own. For me, growing up I felt the calendar might as well have had a big “N/A” on that Sunday. Not applicable.

Reminders of this holiday are hard to avoid in the spring. Commercials, promotional emails, and social media all dig and grate at you, reminding you to purchase the perfect gift to show mom how much you love her.
Plan to take her out to dinner! The spa or a day of carefree shopping!
Even the hardware store reminds me that gift cards make a great Mother’s Day gift.

For those without a mom, it adds to the noise of your day, hitting the well-calloused, internal compartment where you house everything mom-related to make it through the day and to keep going.

Side Note: There is nothing wrong with these commercials, emails and posts. I know this is just part of people doing their jobs. Heck, I’ve even shared some Mother’s Day gift ideas when I have something to promote. It’s part of normal life. And please, friends, don’t ever feel like you can’t talk about your mom around me.

Through my thirty motherless Mother’s Days, I was lucky enough to have grandmas, a step-mom, and now a mother-in-law to fill the gift-buying void – because these women became part of my tribe.

But it’s not the same, not really.

Oh, how I remember the elementary school crafts that we’d make as a surprise to take home to a mother who wasn’t there. (Ouch.) 

And oh, how I remember as I grew older, the dedications that friends would make about how wonderful their mom is, and how they wouldn’t be the person they are today without her loving support. (Double ouch.)

And oh, how my heart goes out to all the new, tiny members of this excruciating motherless club, as I know little ones lose their mothers too soon everyday.

So this Mother’s Day, I’m doing what I always do. I’m holding my head high, looking for the good in things, being thankful for all the wonderful people I do have in my life, and making her proud.

I’m thinking of young ones out there who may be facing their first or second Mother’s Day without a mother, who are wondering how they will make it through.

There are many wonderful organizations that support grieving children, so I’m taking my would-be Mother’s Day dollars and donating them to a grief center to help children process their feelings, experiences and transition into what their new normal looks like.

I’ve put a list of some such centers below if you’d like to join me in donating this Mother’s Day, but there are also local centers you can search for if you’d like to donate to an organization serving your community.

Because I remember the quiet, 8 year old Tanya, meticulously finishing a school craft for no one.

Now that my life has come full circle and I’ve become a mother myself, I awkwardly face this day on the receiving end and cheerfully accept any flowers, handmade crafts, wobbly-planted flowers, hand-print collages or gift cards that my husband and sons present.

I celebrate my mom on Mother’s Day and everyday by being the best mother I can be.

If you’ve also experienced the loss of your mother at an early age, you’re not alone. Check out my new group, Lilac Rising, to be uplifted and connect with other women who have the same experience. There, we tackle life skills we didn’t get growing up and move forward in life, while creating positive connections with others.

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