It's Mother's Day. Everybody knows it's Mother's Day because television and internet ads, store displays, facebook posts, and even blog entries bombard you with this information for days and weeks. This year I find all those reminders a bit painful.
I have a wonderful mother who is going strong as she approaches her 87th birthday - and I know how very lucky that makes me. I am a mother. I have two sons who have grown into fine young men who will call me or come by to check in on Mother's Day, just as they do many other days. That too makes me lucky.
Yet I feel lost on this mother's day because I lost the person who most defined me as a mother. Being Maggie's mother was an experience all it's own and I am lost without having it as part of my daily life.
Before you say anything, let me assure you, I know that I will always be her mother. I know that I was a good mother to her. I know we had an incredible bond that surpassed even that of mother-daughter. I know I was lucky to have her and that luck lasted far longer than anyone might have predicted. But I miss her and I miss the person I was when she was here with me. Maggie made me a better person and she made me a better mother.
I still do things to honor and remember her and probably will forever. Yesterday I stopped by Special Olympics at Kezar stadium to cheer on Maggie's peers. It made me both happy and sad. As I wandered through the crowd I heard a young girl say, "Hey, Your MAGGIE'S mom!" I smiled as I recognized her friend from middle school days who was there to compete. I hadn't seen her in probably five years, but she still knew I was "Maggie's mom." That made me happy.
A few minutes later I became a little uncomfortable when she asked, "Where's Maggie?" I froze for a minute before answering, "She's not here." (Pause) "I don't think her class arrived yet." Both statements were technically true, but taken together were very misleading. There was just no way I was going to tell that child what had happened. She was there to compete in Special Olympics, she was having fun. Nothing would be gained from telling her.
I left shortly after that exchange. As I walked home through a sparkling Golden Gate Park I wondered if I had done the right thing. And, if I did, was I protecting her or me? It doesn't matter, I suppose. We could both use a little protecting. That's what mother's do, right? They protect. I smiled again as I thought of her greeting and of my nearly twenty years as "Maggie's Mom."
I was MAGGIE'S mom!
I was Maggie's MOM!
I was MAGGIE'S MOM!
It was the hardest and best job I ever had. And it was a wild wild ride, that's for sure.
Happy Mother's Day. Enjoy the ride.