The end of May is here and I have to tell you that this makes me one happy camper. May is typically a month full of mixed emotions for me. First, there is Mother's Day and then there is the celebration of my birthday, which are two very deeply intertwined events. Let me tell you that I have dreaded Mother's Day for many, many years. My mother died way too young. When most little girls needed comfort their mothers provided it. I, on the other hand, have a very different story to tell.
When I was 11 and at the edge of a precipice -- literally at the edge of my bed, hyperventilating and having a full-blown anxiety attack -- it was not a mother sitting next to me, reassuring me that everything would be fine. Nope, it was my 14-year-old brother, a young teenager himself. He was my hero. And, let me tell you, he sat with me until I caught my breath and felt reassured. Now, I ask you, what 14-year-old boy should have to be put in this position? I do, however, want you to know that he was and still is quite good at being somewhat motherly with me. He calms me down and cheers me on. And, this is not a role that he signed on for. Just like my green-eyed, beautiful mother with the luxurious hair didn't sign on for an abbreviated life and I didn't sign on to be nobody's child.
I have several other secrets and here they come: Every Mother's Day, I go to my local card store and look at the Mother's Day cards. I love to pretend that I, too, have a mother who is expecting a beautiful card from me. This makes me feel like a member of a very special club -- a club of adult women who have mothers who excitedly await their Mother's Day greetings. And I have another trick. Sometimes, an older woman takes a liking to me and I have this wish that she will be my surrogate mother. You see, I try to borrow mothers. Sadly, this never quite works, because I see how these women look at their own children. Nobody ever looks at me with that motherly look of pride that says "that Barbara, she is quite something." I wonder if I will spend the rest of my life trying to find someone who will look at me this way just once. I don't think that you can understand this deep sense of yearning unless you, too, are a motherless daughter.
This past weekend, I met my dear friend and her new and very dear love in a chic downtown hotel. The most special thing there was not the boutique hotel or the great time that we had but just being with my friend. I wondered why that was the case after so many years. N. moved to the West coast after her divorce. In a flash, it hit me. I remembered why she and I had a special bond even though we hadn't seen each other for years: we were both motherless and perhaps because of this, had always been aware of our mutual love of being nurtured. In small ways, we had always been nurturing towards each other. I believe that this is something that motherless daughters sense about each other.
This story is simply a thank you to the people in my life who have recognized my need for nurturing. My brother tops that list, and after that there are many special people -- way too many to include here.
That said, hold on tightly to your own mother. When you're not looking, I just might try to steal her.