Because my mom died just 13 days after my 10th birthday, I have never had the opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day as an adult. I have never been able to write my thoughts in a card that I bought, or create a bouquet of yellow roses and babies' breath for her, knowing those are her favorite flowers. I have never been able to invite her out to lunch and spoil her with tapas and sangria while we laugh about what a brat I was when I was a kid. I have never been able to actively and consciously celebrate my mom along with all of my human peers that still have their mothers here on earth.
Layer all of that with the fact that I, myself, don't have human children of my own, and my husband's mom passed when he was 21, the day feels like one of those greyed out boxes on an airline availability calendar.
All that being said, as I was thinking about Mother's Day this morning, I was overcome with the feeling that, aside from the common understanding of "mother", one can mother, and be mothered, regardless of one's reproductive, adoptive, or parentless state. There have been several women who have mothered me. My Aunt Kae, who is my mom's sister, has sent me a steady stream of love for as long as I can remember. My Dad Rusk's ex, Linda, remains steadfast in my mind as a mothering presence after my mom died, and Maxine... my step-mother, who, despite my angry, adolescent attempts at alienating her, has been a steady in my life.
Finally, I know that I am not alone in my melancholy on this day. One friend lost her mom just a four years ago. Another's mother is alive, but is lost to her for other reasons. And many, many other people I know are missing their moms today. So, for all of those who share this complicated day with me..... I send to you all that a mother is: love, dedicated adoration, healing, and the smell of homemade cookies as well as a knowing that no matter what, we are loved by those who gave us life, gave us home, and who gave us a kiss when we skinned our knees - wherever they are.