When I was about eight or nine years old, I saw a Mother’s Day ad for Boscov’s that claimed you could buy your mom a beautiful gold locket for just $0.99. Holy crap! Just $0.99?! I immediately decided that I wanted to get my mom that locket for Mother’s Day. I was so excited to be able to afford such a beautiful gift for my mom. She did everything for me and she always bought me the nicest gifts, sometimes for no reason at all. I would finally be able to return the favor and give her a truly special Mother’s Day gift. I told my dad all about it, hoping that he would take me to Boscov’s to buy the locket for my mom. I showed him the ad and he quietly read it to himself. What he said next absolutely broke my heart. He told me that at the bottom of the ad, in the teeniest, tiniest print you ever did see, it said you could buy the locket for $0.99 after spending $100.00 on an in-store purchase. I was devastated! I mean, absolutely devastated! How could they run a Mother’s Day advertisement that was so misleading?! I didn’t even want my dad to give me the $100.00 to buy something else just so I could buy the locket for $0.99. I was over it! Even though I had my heart set on buying her that locket, I knew I would figure out another gift to give my mom. I was so mad and so upset that I even wrote Boscov’s a letter telling them how messed up it was to trick a little kid into thinking that she could buy her mom a beautiful locket for only $0.99. I told them they should be ashamed of themselves! I’m still waiting for a response.
We all know that Mother’s Day is just a commercial holiday. It’s meant to pull at our heartstrings and make us think about our moms. It’s meant to get us to spend a ridiculous amount of money on cards, flowers, gifts, meals, etc. It’s meant to get us to spend $100.00 on a qualifying purchase at Boscov’s just so we can buy our moms a beautiful gold locket for only $0.99. I mean, our moms are worth it, aren’t they? What kind of daughter or son would you be if you didn’t buy your mom some lavish gift for Mother’s Day? That’s exactly how they get you! That’s exactly how the marketing people want you to feel! But tell me, what does a daughter buy if she doesn’t have a mother?
As you all know by now, my mom is still alive, but she is about to enter the tenth year of her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She can barely walk, talk, or feed herself at this point, let alone read a card or go to the spa to get her nails done. So, what in the hell do I get her for Mother’s Day? I guess the marketing geniuses got to me because I did decide to order her flowers to be delivered a couple of days before Mother’s Day. I figure there’s absolutely no point in sending her a card because she can’t read it and I see no need to call attention to yet another thing she can no longer do. With flowers, at least she can smell and touch them, maybe even see them if you hold them in front of her just right. I’m sure that she won’t be able to understand or appreciate that her daughter sent her flowers, but still, I wanted to do something to make her feel special. And admittedly, I know the marketing people would make me feel guilty for not doing anything to acknowledge the day.
Mother’s Day is much more about survival for me these days. It is often a tough day for me to get through and there’s no escaping the Mother’s-Day-ness of it all. From the advertisements and commercials all over the freaking place to the brunches and dinners, the pictures and posts on Facebook and Instagram, and the forced Facetime attempts, which I’m sure will be an absolute disaster. Ahhhhhh! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! I can’t take it! I would give anything to sleep the day away. But, I will stumble through the day, avoiding scrolling through social media at any and all costs, and quite possibly not leaving my house. Mother’s Day is a sad day for the motherless.
Don’t say it. Don’t you dare even say it!
“Well, at least your mom is still alive.”
“You’re lucky you still have your mom.”
I know my mom is still alive. Unless you’ve watched your mom deteriorate over the course of a decade from Alzheimer’s disease, then zip it. I understand that my grief doesn’t compare to the grief of those whose moms have died. I get that. But, only those who have walked in my shoes understand that Alzheimer’s disease is a death in and of itself. And only we are so lucky to grieve the second death of our moms once they actually, physically die. So please, don’t go there.
There are many other reasons, aside from death and Alzheimer’s, that someone may become motherless. Some people are just born with really shitty, selfish moms. Their moms are not there for them now and probably never have been for one reason or another. Some people have moms who suffer from addiction, whether it be alcohol, drug, or gambling addictions. They eventually reach the decision that their mom is too toxic to be a part of their lives. Some people’s moms have been in life-altering car accidents. Some have suffered strokes, heart attacks, or aneurysms, after which they will never be the same. Some suffer from mental illness, depression, or PTSD. And still, some suffer from other illnesses and diseases that have a huge impact on their lives and their ability to be motherly. Your mom doesn’t have to be dead for you to be motherless. There are so many of us out there and we are all motherless for different reasons.
So yeah, Mother’s Day sucks for a lot of us. I certainly won’t be planning which shoes to wear with which dress for a lovely Mother’s Day brunch full of French toast and laughter. I won’t be scrolling through Facebook “liking” all of your pictures and posts of your Mother’s Day outings either. Now, I’m not trying to make you feel bad if you have the world’s most perfect Mother’s Day planned. Not at all. You do you, boo. But, I’m not really here for you. I’m here for all the other ones. The motherless ones. I’m just here to say I get it. I feel you. This shit sucks. It’s not a fun day for a lot of us. And that’s ok. You go ahead and have yourself a nice ugly cry this Mother’s Day. Let it all out. You deserve it. You’ll get through it. Mother’s Day will be over before you know it. Just like any other day.