Mother's Day: Both Sides Now


Women who become mothers experience Mother’s Day from both sides—as daughters and as mothers.

An experience that’s not necessarily two sides of the same coin.

More than any other day of the year, for me this day brings mixed emotions:  one side sad; the other  joyous.

The year I was 18 was the last Mother’s Day I would have a mother, although I didn’t know that at the time.

41 years was all my Mom had; 18 as a mom.  It seems so little time to imprint herself on 3 children for a lifetime.

I’ve already had 29 years to be a mom, and I’m hoping for a lot more.

My mom saw me graduate high school; but not my sister and brother.  She saw no college graduations, no weddings, no grandchildren  (will I ever see mine?)  She missed so much of our lives it almost seems as if she was never there at all.

I think of how little she left behind.   I was too young and dumb to know I should save things that would have mattered to me now.

Sometimes I see someone who knew her well; and they bring me something that they kept for all these decades.

Recently my cousin gave me two dresses that her mother had saved.  My aunt once gave me a tube of her lipstick, almost used up.  It touched me not only that she had saved it, and given it to me; but also to think of  how intimate it was.  I’m sure I spent hours as a child watching her put on her makeup, but I can’t remember how she looked when she did it.

I have a few letters, pictures, even a few movies. But they’re silent.  I’d give anything to hear her, but the sound of her voice is lost to me.

Thanks to modern technology, my children will hear the sound of my voice forever.  They have pictures, videos, journals, thousands of words on the internet—more of me than they could -or would – ever want.

In the end though, in addition to two sides there’s also a bottom line.  I was fortunate.  Everyone who knew my mom remembers her as I do—warm, wise, caring, calm.   She left behind only sweet beautiful memories.  If I ever had a negative thought about her, I don’t remember it.  And all children aren’t as lucky to get all that my mother had to give, even in just 18 years.

Most of what she gave can’t be seen anyway.  It’s  inside me; and inside her grandchildren that she never knew:  qualities of her that I can see in them.   Her gifts, her love, her life are with me always.

I choose to celebrate that on Mother’s Day—in the gifts, the love and the lives of my own children.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.


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  1. Headless Mom says

    This is so beautiful Darryle. Thank you for sharing your mom with us. I read this piece to my mom as we are sharing a glass of wine!

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