Mother’s Day? It’s Complicated

I’m not a mother and ever since I lost my own mother ten years ago, Mother’s Day has been emotionally complicated for

Mama, a few years before she had me


Funny thing is, I was never big on Mother’s Day. It was too commercial, too contrived.

And maybe because I lived far away from my mother, I never waited for that one day to let her know how much she meant to me. I made sure that I did something special for Mama each time we saw each other, and told her how important she was to me every time we talked.

You see, my mother was my best friend, my confidante, my role model and teacher. I wanted to be just like her – to be as creative, as intelligent, as caring and as supportive as she was.

Mama wrote poetry, created music and baked elaborate cakes from scratch. She made our clothes so expertly, so neatly they could have been worn inside out – I rarely wore store bought clothes.

Watching her, I learned how to sew but she also taught me how to crochet, embroider and play the flute.

I got my love of crossword puzzles and mysteries from her.

And though she tried to teach me math, I was never as good as she was. As the unofficial bookkeeper for my grandfather’s business, I watched her do the payroll every Friday with just receipts, a notebook and a pencil.

Because of everything I learned from Mama, I wanted to be a mother just so I could pass her gifts on to my daughter — yes, I knew I’d have a daughter.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

So on Mother’s Day, especially, I feel her loss acutely and I think about what might have been.

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20 comments on “Mother’s Day? It’s Complicated

  1. Marcia, My mom has been dead for 15 years. I miss her so much. Your posting made me have tears in my eyes. Here I am, 70 years old and wish I could have a substitute mom. Maybe I’ll become a substitute granny since my grandchild is living in Mexico. There are so many children who don’t have grammas. I think I’ll look into that. Much love. Sandi Ritchie Miller

  2. Sorry for the tears, Sandi — I tried really hard not to make it too emotional.

    A substitute gramma is a great idea. Btw, how old is your grandchild now?
    Wishing you a fabulous Mother’s Day tomorrow.

  3. Your mum was very cool. You were one of the lucky ones.

    But sometimes your kids don’t want to learn from their parents. My husband plays trumpet, clarinet, piano, guitar. The boys get upset when he tries to teach them, although he is a good teacher. We pay for music lessons.

    I had a cry too, but ever pragmatic…

    You may be able to share your talents with children by doing some volunteer work? Does Jamaica have vacation or after school activity centres? Lots of kids don’t have adults who will sit with them a while and teach them stuff.

    I would put you to good use if you were over here! Such talent should not be wasted.

  4. Great Post ! I lost my mother five years ago-I miss her dearly. I learned many things from her and I miss our friendship more each day, but my memories of her will go on forever. I am a mother, of two-they are very successful in life, and have beautiful families of their own. Mother’s Day is just another day to a mother, as every day is celebrated with love, joy, and adventures.

  5. I am sorry you loss your mother. I am not most of Mother Day even, my daughter uses to make me things when she was younger, but now I do not like her spending money on me.

  6. Thanks, Polly.
    My mother was like that — she didn’t like to be fussed over.
    Hope you have a great Mother’s Day tomorrow.

  7. I’m sorry for your loss, Penny, but glad you have great memories of your mom.
    It took me a while but I can now smile when I think of her and I realize how fortunate I was to have her for so long in my life.
    I wish you a wonderful day tomorrow. Hope you’ll be surrounded by your children and their families on your special day.

  8. I do volunteer and surprisingly (to me) I’m always teaching (my mom was a teacher) even when I’m at work. It’s one of the traits I probably picked up from her – sharing of knowledge and information. I plan to do more mentoring because I know there are lots of kids and young people who need help.

    With 6 weeks off in the summer, my mom had to find ways to keep us entertained. So she made sure to teach us something new.
    I realize now how lucky I was to have her for so long in my life — some people aren’t that lucky. And yes, she was really cool.

    Thanks for stopping by Narelle.
    Wishing you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  9. Thanks, Theresa. Sorry about your mom — I know she was a special lady.
    I realize every day how many treasures my mom gave me. I’m so thankful to have had her in my life and glad that when I think of her now, I can smile. You’re so right — the memories themselves are fantastic gifts!
    Wishing you a wonderful Mother’s Day!
    Thanks for stopping by,

  10. My mom has been gone for almost 16 years…not a single day goes by that I don’t think about her and miss her. What you learned from you mom is something to be treasured, whether you are ‘really’ a mother or not. And the memories themselves are fantastic gifts ♥

  11. Thanks for this sweet post. My mom died over 15 years ago and I miss having her in my life. I was such an expert daughter but only understood motherhood when my sons came along. Then it all made sense… sort of! Happy Mother’s Day!

  12. What a beautiful ode to your mom and terribly sad to read about her loss…. The good thing is that you had wonderful memories together and that is priceless.
    Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

  13. Thanks, Elizabeth!
    We did have a beautiful relationship and that sustains me. I have no regrets — we said all that was to be said to each other.
    I still talk to her from time to time, tell her what I’m doing, ask her advice. It’s not the same but it’s comforting to know she’s looking out for me.
    Wishing you a wonderful Mother’s Day as well,

  14. Hahahaha, my mom used to say, Wait until you have children!
    She raised my cousins after her sister passed. They have children now and many times they say they understand what she was trying to tell us.
    Sorry to hear about your mom, Marge. Now, what’s an expert daughter?
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  15. Hi Marcia
    That was a very moving post, your Mama sounds an amazing woman. Fortunately, my mother’s still with us, she brought me & my two sisters up alone, but sometimes we take it all for granted.

    Just another query, why is mother’s day on a different day in the UK & the US? Unless I’ve missed it! Just checked – I didn’t miss it!

  16. Thanks, Tony. She was. We do take it all for granted – she used to say, wait until you have your own.
    Your mom sounds like a phenomenal woman bringing up three children by herself. It’s not easy.

    You know, I have no idea! Maybe the US just wanted to be different than the Mother country?

  17. Thanks, Mozes. She was really cool, most of the times!
    We had our battles ’cause I was very independent. But in the end, we had a very close relationship.
    How’s school?

  18. This post and all the comments brought tears to my eyes! My younger brother was adopted by my aunt ever since his birth, my uncle died 6 years back and he was solely attached to my aunt. They both loved each other so much that anybody who saw them would be amazed. And now, my aunt died last month.. He is so lonely and shattered now! This mother’s day is going to be very very bad for him.. I just wish I could do something to make him feel better..

  19. Oh, I’m so sorry, Naxysch, that you lost your aunt and your brother lost his mom. Mothers are such special people. I still miss mine and cry sometimes when I remember her.
    The one thing I can tell your brother is that it gets better. It won’t feel that way now but one day, when he least expects it, he’ll remember her and smile. He has to take however long it takes him to grieve. You can be with him and help him as much as possible with the adjustment and assure him that it’ll get better. My condolences, Naxysch.

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