Mother’s Day, complicated

Mom holding me and Kristyn

My mom with me and my little sister

 

The author of the manuscript I’m currently editing has very conflicted feelings about her mom, and for good reason: the memoir describes a family dynamic scarred by alcohol, prostitution, meth addiction, and abuse of all kinds. Given how difficult the story has been to read, I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her to experience. But stories like hers can certainly provide some perspective, if you’re inclined to have any mixed feelings each year as Mother’s Day rolls around.*

Because of my good fortune in having been raised in a home full of love, my feelings about my own mother are not complicated at all: I love her fiercely. I admire her, I am endlessly grateful to her, I enjoy her. I know how lucky that makes me. If you know my mom, you know what I mean.

 

Mom with me and Kristyn

She often had her arms full, and this picture shows her just getting started; we are the first two of six.

 

 

Back at the beginning of her mothering adventure (I’m the one in the middle)

 

If you live in one of the 97 countries (from Anguilla to Zimbabwe) celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow, I hope it’s a good day for you and your mom. As I learn more about how memory works, I recognize that we are not always, or even often, very reliable witnesses of our own lives. If we try to think of “happy memories with Mom,” and we aren’t immediately able to make a list a yard long, it doesn’t mean those memories aren’t in there. If we wait a bit, perhaps over a period of time, things will come to mind.

If you have complicated feelings about yourself as a mother, I profoundly hope that you find some peace over that, too. If your culture prioritizes the role of mother over other roles women can have, that choice can seem like an important form of support. But it can also create challenges for women, regardless of their life experience. As with so many things in life, it’s complicated.

Here’s a video designed to honor the mothering that women do.

 

If you’re able to call your mom on Mother’s Day, I invite you to spend even a few minutes beforehand thinking about a memory to share. It’s the thinking that counts.

 

My mom with her mom, and me with my youngest daughter

 

*Of course, just when Mother’s Day rolls around depends on where you live. As I mentioned last week (don’t miss the photos!), the first Sunday in May is our celebration in Spain. Loads of countries have designated the second Sunday in May. March is the second most popular month for the holiday, and other Mother’s Days are scattered throughout the year. Norway is the only country celebrating in February, and Armenia has April all to itself. Luxembourg and Mongolia take June, South Sudan has July. Thailand, Costa Rica and Antwerp mark the day in August, and Belarus, Malawi and Argentina choose October.  Russia, North Korea and East Timor make much of their moms in November; Panama and Indonesia celebrate in December. Read more about it here.

 

[Images are from the family archives. I don’t actually know who held the camera for any of the photos.]

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7 thoughts on “Mother’s Day, complicated

  1. Lori, you are such a wonderful writer and this is so tender. WIsh I could call my mother this mother’s day so much.

    • Leanne, such kind words. I know how much you did for your mom, and am sure she appreciated all your loving service. I hope you share some lovely moments with your kids today–

  2. Beautiful pictures, Lori. You and your Mom could be sisters! I also had a wonderful Mom, who gave us so much guidance and love. She died two years ago and I miss her very much.

  3. I’m flattered. Mother’s day is a poignant time, as you miss your mom, but get to hear from your own kids. I hope the day is a good one for you!

  4. Hooray! In the 2nd one you really look like Limonada (or rather, she looks like you 😉 ) + in the one with you as a newborn, wow! Gpa is one handsome young man! 🙂

    And I am so grateful for you, my courageous, creative, consistent, caring (fill in more C-words here? 😉 ) MOM! Love you! ❤

    • And you’re so right about the resemblance. I’ve noticed that we look alike in other pictures, but wasn’t really looking for it in this one–now I see it clearly!

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