Love to the Motherless

Another Mother's Day and I'm ambivalent. I've been a mother for 14 years. I've been motherless for the same amount of time. My son was only 9-weeks old when my mother suddenly passed away. On the anniversary of her death every year – April 27 – I only have to note how old my son is to know how long my mother has been gone. I suppose this is a bizarre marking of time, time-as-a-mother for being-motherless. It's just how it happens for me.

In 14 years, some memories have faded while others have remained clear. I keenly remember looking at all the cheerful Happy Mother's Day! decorations as I sat in the Circle Centre Nordstrom shoe department waiting for the salesperson to gather up options in comfortable black shoes. Becoming a mother had magically grown my feet by a half-size and I needed something to wear for the viewings and funeral. I remember thinking "f*@king Mother's Day" and promptly reprimanding myself for having such a non-motherly thought. And them someone remarked how I would have such a happy Mother's Day with my infant son. Harumph.

It's such a strange thing to be motherless, even more so now that I'm completely parentless. I've been forced into a sort of growing up that I hadn't considered I'd have to do at my age, if I'd considered it at all. I don't know how it feels for anyone else, if it's more strange for those whose mothers died when they were younger (I was 31). I guess I'll never know that experience. I can only have my own.

What I can do – and want to do – as we honor motherhood on this day is send love to all motherless children, whether you're newborn or 98. There's a place in my heart for you, right next to where I hold my own mother.

And to those of you who are mothers, who nurture and unconditionally love (or have) another, have a happy Mother's Day.