I have found that Mother's Day has meant different things to me over the years.
During my teens, my sisters often gave me gifts and cards on Mother's Day...and I felt very inadequate and bereft, though they meant that to be very very loving. I took it that way. But it always had a certain melancholia for me, not having Mom around.
After I had had Lindsey and she was adopted, Mother's Day was excruciating for me. I seldom mentioned it to anyone, but that's because I could hardly talk about it. Sometimes the pain would take my breath away, but who wants to hear me whine and feel sad all of the time? Certainly not my family...mothers were very difficult to talk about in those days.
Over many following years, I found myself celebrating the women in my life who were parenting me, in a way.
Brenda Hunter was an unwitting parenting model for me in the beginning. She was young and imperfect and loving and I will ALWAYS love her for providing me with her friendship and support at that difficult time of life.
The person who comes to mind first is Jean Hannes. She is the mother of a wonderful friend of mine. Jean never really did ALOT, but she was always interested when I would have something to say and she modeled good mothering to me. Mostly, I learned that a family loves and supports every member, whether or not we would make the same choices as each member does. I watched as no judging and lots of love was given to each child as they made choices and moved into their parenthood, adulthood, and more. That was a lesson I needed to learn.
I also learned that families celebrate together and make time for one another and create special times together. Therefore, FAMILY is a deliberate act. I'm grateful to have learned that because I feel like Jer and I create those moments for our children.
When I became a stepmother I felt like I could, finally, participate as a parent. It was nice and the kids and Jer made it nice for me. So did their Mom, Mary. Mary has generously shared her children with me for most of their lives.
The year I had Elizabeth made Mother's Day mean so much more to me than it ever did before. I felt that I had finally and legitimately joined a special group of people who communicate MUCH and support one another with nods, chuckles, and winks.
Jer gave me a pair of diamond earrings for my first Mothers' Day and I wore them for five years without taking them off! I plan on giving them to Elizabeth one day...
Each year I ask for no gifts or anything special, because, Mothers' Day feels like every day to me.
To all of the men and women who support other women and men out there, Happy Family Day!