Mother’s Day Special Edition

ALERT: It’s my favorite Hallmark holiday.

On our way to the cat shelter, my boyfriend Dave says he’s going to his sister’s house with his mother for lunch tomorrow.  It’s my average Saturday night: cleaning the condos and playing with the cats.  I’m hoping there will be kittens and I’m happy Dave’s decided to join me for my shift.

We’re in his car and taking the back roads- a more scenic route through Somerset.  He says I’m welcome to join his family at lunch tomorrow.  “I know it’s not your favorite day,” he says.

“What, Sunday?”  I question as we pass a middle school enclosed with trees.  “What are you talking about?”

“No, Mother’s Day.”  He says it with a pause, like he’s hoping I catch on.

“Oh,” I say and then we both share a loud laugh.  “Yes,” I say still laughing, “I thought you meant I had a problem with Sundays.”

The invite is a kind consideration.  However, he knows I’m not going to want to do anything involving mothers on this particular Sunday.  It’s not a matter of me having a problem with mothers.  It’s a matter of me having a problem with my mother.

I consider I’m overreacting or doing a classic splitting technique that separates me from dealing with the situation on-hand.  But my mixed bag of feelings are confirmed when Ryan texts me Sunday morning.  “Mom won’t answer her phone,” he says.  “I’ve called her seven times and nothing.”

For normal people –normal families- this might not be a visceral concern.  For us, as your children at this time in your life, we have a realistic concern: that you’re dead.

It’s a concern Aunt Patty’s said to me directly over the phone recently.  She said, “When we can’t get ahold of your mother: we think she’s dead.”

Flat-out: “We think she’s dead.”

And you dying suddenly is not out of the question.  We all think you could follow your now-deceased boyfriend’s move and die suddenly from an illness.  We also think you could kill yourself.  Growing up, you would constantly say, “You’d both be better off with me dead.”

Hell, it runs in the family.

What gets me the most is how matter-of-fact that conclusion is.  There’s no emotion behind it, there’s no sign we can prevent it, and there’s no exaggeration.

That’s what Mother’s Day is for me today.

Mother’s Day is E-mail spam telling me about the latest deals and last-minute sales.

But are you dead?

Mother’s Day is Push Notifications on my phone telling me to watch this latest awe-worthy Mother’s Day video.

But are you dead?

Mother’s Day is TV commercials advertising the various ways I could tell you I love you through buying various products.

But are you dead?

All of the noise keeps me from having the day be any casual Sunday.  I’m compartmentalizing and practicing my avoidance strategies.  I’m numbing myself as the macabre thoughts bounce around in my head.

The unfortunate truth is: Mother’s Day isn’t for us.

What’s worse: I’m left waiting for the call that you’re not even alive anymore.

And that’s just not fair.

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