When I am asked to write down my favorite holiday as an answer to one of those security questions online, Mother’s Day is the holiday I always state as my favorite. I’m not sure why. It’s not festive like Christmas, doesn’t involve a big family gathering like Thanksgiving, or include flag waving, fireworks, and cook-outs like the Fourth of July. Mother’s Day is more reflective for me, bringing nostalgia, gratitude, sadness, loneliness, a touch of grief and mourning, in addition to the celebration of life, making it the day I claim as my favorite of the year.
It is on Mother’s Day that I remember my mother, the most wonderful, gentle, and loving woman I have ever known. I have strived, with not much success, to be as much like her as possible. It’s just not in me sometimes. I remember her confessing to me shortly before she died, “I never said anything bad about anyone, but I have to confess that I thought bad things a few times.” She was right – I can’t remember a time that she said a negative word about anyone! She could always find something positive to say. I assured her that there was nothing wrong with thinking bad thoughts. I would have to admit that bad things about other people have left my lips quite a few times in my life. I strive to be more like her in that way, and in many others. I miss my mom, and on Mother’s Day, I wish that I could talk to her, to tell her how much I love her, and to thank her for the influence she had on my life.
It is also at this time of year that I tend to beat myself up over my own motherhood. I sometimes wonder if I was a good mom to my sons, and if they think about me the way I do of my mother. I’m afraid that they witnessed some of my ragged edges, heard my raised and angry voice, witnessed my tears, and were very much present in my personal failures. They know me better than I knew my mother, as far as personal matters are concerned. My mother shielded me from the harsher realities of her life, seldom letting me have a glimpse of her personal feelings of hurt, disappointment, or failure; I included my sons in many of mine. I love them more than anything in this world, and would give my life for them in a heartbeat. But I can’t help asking myself if I could have done better.
With my sons living far away from me, I don’t have the opportunity to be with them on Mother’s Day very often. Last year they surprised me with a special Mother’s Day week-end in New York City, which was the most wonderful ever! I hold that special time close to my heart whenever I start missing them or wishing I could be closer to them. It isn’t often that we are all in the same place at the same time, so these memories are precious.
This Mother’s Day I will be alone, at least family-wise. But my sons will be together in Las Angeles! I wish I could be there with them, but I can’t. It makes me happy knowing that they will be having fun, catching up, and enjoying their time together. I am also happy knowing that they grew up to be fine men, independent men, and compassionate men. I am proud of their accomplishments, both professionally and personally, and only want the best for them in all aspects of their lives. I place them daily in God’s hands, as I did when they were infants at their baptisms. I picture them in my mind laughing and cutting up, teasing each other, retelling stories of their childhood, and supporting each other in friendship and brotherhood. I wish I could be there to watch them, to listen to them, and to see a bit of myself in them.
And so I approach Mother’s Day, my favorite holiday, with mixed emotions, a good helping of nostalgia, a bit of regret, and tons of memories filled with love. I think the reason that this holiday is my favorite is because it’s not really about me. It’s about my sons and my mother. Without the boys, I wouldn’t be a mother, and without my mother, I wouldn’t be a daughter.
It’s Mother’s Day, my favorite holiday of the year.