Sunday, May 11, 2014

I Must Have Missed The Memo ...

I just read a piece titled "Why I hate Mother's Day," written by a mother and I writer whom I usually admire, but she lost me with this:

"I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers ... feel the deepest kind of grief and failure."


There's more to that sentence, as the ellipsis indicates, but I cut it since I cannot speak for the other people she references.

I can, however, speak for myself.

I am a "non-mother" and I do not today feel – nor have I ever felt – "the deepest kind of grief and failure" on Mothers' Day. (I place the apostrophe to form the possessive for all mothers, not just one.)

Or on any other day, for that matter, at least where being a mother or not being a mother is involved.

So, no, Anne, all "non-mothers" do not feel the deepest kind of grief and failure today because at least one person does not: me.

There was a time, when I was a teenager, when I was sure I didn't want children. And then, as I got a bit older, I realized that my "principled" teen angst was ridiculous and that yes, in fact, I would very much like to be a mother. Being a mother, I realized, would be the most important thing I would ever do.

But my life has not progressed that way. I could have had children if I really wanted to pursue motherhood. Or I could have adopted.

But I didn't and I didn't. And I'm fine. My life is not devoid of meaning. I do not spend my days in despair. I do not wander the aisles of Babies R Us sighing wistfully. In recent days, folks at stores have wished me a happy Mothers' Day. They do not know I am not a mother. I am of likely mother age. I just smile. The intention is thoughtful.

I appreciate that today is a difficult day for some people. Some people were not fortunate in the mom department and their upbringings may have been less than ideal or perhaps even hell. Some people have lost their moms and find today a harsh reminder of the women they love and miss. Some people have lost children and experience Mothers' Day through that glaring prism.

And yes, today may be a windfall for the greeting-card and flower and candy and brunch industries.

But I am happy to spend a day doing a little something for my mom. As much as I like to think that I convey my appreciation of her enough every other day of the year, I'm sure I fall short.

And in so doing, I am not wracked with the deepes kind of grief and failure for not having my own kids to do the same for me.

Today is a nice day. The sun in shining. The birds are chirping. The temperature is temperate. Moms are feeling a little extra love. Or so I hope. They carried and birthed human beings. That's worthy of a nod.

It is one day. Let's let them have it. Let's not deconstruct it. I am not religious. I do not begrudge anyone their religious holidays. I do not inform them that they should not observe them because I might take offense.

Some things apply to some people. Other things do not.

Mothers' Day is not a vendetta against the motherless.

Now eat somthing. You look too thin.

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Blogger Rick Hamrick said...

Beth, there is great wisdom in your response when someone wishes you a happy day which, technically, doesn't apply to you.

Smile, recognize the good intention, and allow the opportunity to take offense to glide on by.

I agree with you that Anne missed the mark this time. Interestingly, the unscientific poll on her Facebook page where she reissued the essay from four years ago is divided pretty evenly. More than two hundred likes for a supportive comment, and nearly two hundred likes for someone who disagreed.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Hear hear. There are plenty of things in the world about which to really get riled. Hundreds of abducted girls in Nigeria, for instance. Someone wishing me a well-intentioned Happy Mothers' Day doesn't even register on the spectrum of possible offenses.

I'm glad Anne is hearing from a good number of folks who don't think the same way as she does.

5:36 PM  

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