The Annual Mother’s Day Rant

After all these years, I still weep when I read about someone welcoming a child or grandchild. Bob Welch has done it again with his piece about the birth of his grandson in his book My Oregon. He speaks of the wonder of this new generation, the drama of the birth, the miracle of new life. I’m already reading through tears when he ends with the first words his daughter-in-law spoke to her son: “I’m your mom.”

Oh. Crap. Why did I have to read this two days before Mother’s Day? Why didn’t somebody warn me? A least, a certain talk show host let us know in advance that today is the big Mother’s Day Show. I’ll just do something else at 4:00. But I’m sitting out in the sun reading this pleasant book, which has already gotten to me a couple times with columns about the author’s parents and children, and here comes this baby getting born. Like I haven’t already wept through every famous TV birth shown in the last 20 years. It could be a sitcom, with the laugh-track laughers guffawing all over the place, and I’m sobbing on the sofa.

Just. Kill. Me.

My heart goes out to those women who have tried everything and could not conceive or whose children did not survive. I don’t know how you get through the day. For people like me, who are childless by marriage or circumstance (all-too-efficient use of birth control or just being so busy working that you never got around to it) the worst part is knowing it’s your own fault. You can’t blame God, fate or faulty ovaries. You could have done it, but you didn’t, and now it’s too late. It’s Mother’s Day again. Everywhere you look is another ad for what to buy “Mom” or where to take her on that special day. Brunch at the Embarcadero. A garden tour. A bracelet with the names of all her children or grandchildren etched into rubies, emeralds or diamonds.

I already know where I’m going and what I’m getting for Mother’s Day. Nowhere special and nothing. Okay, I take that back, I might be handed a carnation at church or at some restaurant under the mistaken impression that a woman my age must be a mother. And I’ll say thank you and keep it until it dries out and falls apart. I used to argue the technicality, but I surrendered a long time ago. I mother my dog, my husband, my students, my houseplants. What the heck.

Mother’s Day hurts even more now that my own mother, mother-in-law and grandmothers are all dead. I used to be able to deflect all that childless energy into honoring the mothers in my life. Not anymore. Now it’s just me and the dog, who is also childless. She got spayed before she knew what was happening. There ain’t no mothers or babies around here.

I’ll light candles at church for the mothers who have passed away. Then I plan to duck and cover for the duration of the Mother’s Day bombardment. Let me know when it’s over.

Copyright 2015 Sue Fagalde Lick

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