Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Oh, Mother's Day

My thoughts on how I can deal with Mother's Day have evolved over the years.

I have gone from needing to celebrate Mother's Day with my own mother on a different weekend so that I can cocoon myself on the actual day (including not going in the front yard, not going in public, retreating to the back yard with a martini and a book and a box of tissues), to celebrating on Saturday but not Sunday of that weekend for the same reason, to this year where I am hosting brunch at my house, ON ACTUAL MOTHER'S DAY.

Yes, I will take your applause.

I am not quite ready to go out and have brunch somewhere public, but I can host a yummy brunch that is definitely gluten free.

I can be busy in the kitchen and drink as many mimosas or bellinis or whatever as I'd like, because it's MY HOUSE.

So that's a benefit.

Several years ago I hosted brunch and I got my mom and my sister each a potted plant and wished them a Happy Mother's Day and then felt the distinct absence of a potted plant or a holiday greeting at my own plate. It didn't feel good. I stopped doing the potted plant thing because nobody gets me a potted plant, I have an empty space next to my full plate that just screams, YOU'RE NOT A MOTHER! YOU'RE NOT WORTHY OF A POTTED PLANT!

Last year, my sister suggested we all go out to a brunch, because we were going into our homestudy and so were close to being paper pregnant and we could all be moms -- my mom to us, my sister to her stepsons, and me to my soon-to-be-adopted baby.

I said no.

I said no because I didn't want to celebrate another year of POSSIBLE motherhood, or AMORPHOUS shots at being a mom. I told her, "You know, I'm not quite ready yet, because I'm NOT a mother, and it's entirely possible that next year I won't be a mother on Mother's Day, either. So no thank you."

And hey, lookee here, it's next Mother's Day. Unless we get a call to drive to a last-minute match, I will definitely NOT be a mother on Mother's Day. Called it.

There are no cards for me. Unless you count the ones from the cat, and although I fancy myself a little like Daenerys Targaryen, only instead of Mother of Dragons, I'm Mother of Cats...NO. I do NOT want a card from the cats. I love them, I hold them like babies (in the brief moments where they let me before shredding my forearms), I kiss their little furry heads (okay, maybe this all applies to Lucky, since he is not gross like Abner who is currently spewing snot everywhere), but they are not actually my babies. Even though Lucky is thoroughly enjoying all the nursery things to the point where I wonder if it really is for him.

But I kind of do want some kind of recognition, some inclusion for my expectant mother, paper-pregnant status. And at the same time I don't. Because I'm not a mother and who knows when that will actually happen. I kind of want my first REAL Mother's Day to be special and not diluted by premature huzzahs.

It's a funny dichotomy.

I mean, does it dilute things to acknowledge that I'm an expectant mother, although in the most fuzzy of ways? Is it okay to include me a little, maybe no potted plant but a seedling? A packet of seeds, because my motherhood is potential and not actual?

This potential-not-actual status is tiring. For instance, I am about to submit my first components of my National Board Certification process, and I received an email saying the window to register for next year's components had opened. And I thought, CRAP... I don't know when this call is coming or how much of next year I will be there for... and this is a video of class, and so how do I register when I don't know if I'll be there during the window to get the material I need to write about??? I was talking about this conundrum with one of the advisors, and another teacher overheard me and was like, "I had a baby during the process, and it can be done!" Which was lovely, but then I was like, "Yes, but I bet you had a due date... I am dependent on the due date of someone who hasn't even been identified yet. I am screwed."

It's this sense of not-knowing that makes it hard to celebrate Mother's Day for myself without feeling like a poseur, like breaking into a house you haven't closed on yet to have a housewarming party. It doesn't quite work.

But at the same time, I've bought the's just not closing time yet. Can I count myself as a homeowner? Not until I have the key in my hands, right?

So here's my thing. I would like to be recognized in some way on this day. Not in a sad way, but also not a "Woo hoo, celebrate your impending motherhood!" kind of way, because in my head that means maybe my mortgage won't go through.

One of my friends sends me a text message every Mother's Day to say she's thinking of me and my angels. That is always lovely.

It would be nice if more people were like, "I know you're not a mother yet, but I want to celebrate your EFFORTS to be a mother, your mother's heart, your almost-not-quite-there-yet status." If there was a way to recognize me and all those who aren't there yet but are trying so, so hard as part of this holiday. That wouldn't take anything away from the holiday or the true First Mother's Day thing later, right?

Just to be hugged, to be told it's okay, this day is hard, and it sucks having it not be yours for so long, but you're getting there. You deserve a plant, too.

I hope you find your ways to cope with this day, whether you're on the outside looking in, celebrating for the first time and feeling conflicted, reminded of how hard it was to get there, or finding it painful for other reasons, such as the loss of a mother, a birthmother, a child you placed, whatever it might be that makes this day less than awesome. I'll be thinking of you as I try to find my place on Sunday, bellini and gluten free lemon poke cake in hand.


  1. If I could, I would reach through the computer and hug you.

    Honestly, I think you can celebrate in anyway that feels right to you. I don't think it will dilute any future experiences and I think you should be celebrating all you've done and are preparing for. Potted plant included.

    I'm very guilty of holding off on rewards and celebrations while waiting for certain things to happen. More often than not, I just end up making myself more miserable.

    My vote is find a way to celebrate.

    1. Thank you... I am just struggling because I don't quite know how I want to celebrate, other than shoveling food in my mouth and drinking champagne cocktails far too early in the day to be productive after. I am hoping that some stroke of genius will come to me...or that someone designs a Mother's Day card for waiting adoptive parents between now and Saturday so I can get one. :) Thank you for your wisdom!

  2. I'm going to echo Cristy's sentiment here and say that yes, I wish there was a way to reach through the computer to give you a hug. Being caught in that in between is hard.

    Much applause to you for hosting that brunch!

    You totally deserve any celebration you want - you have worked SO hard and should be celebrated for all that you've done. Whatever feels good and right to you. And yes, someone needs to design a card for waiting adoptive parents - that would be awesome!

    1. Thank you so much...for all of this comment. I really appreciate it. How do you get a card published? Do I lobby Hallmark or something? There's got to be something... :) Thanks again.

  3. Well done. Really, Jess. That's huge. It took me nearly a decade to get where you are.

    BTW: You might appreciate this post I wrote last year:

    1. Oh, I love Mentor of Many! Thank you so much for sharing. And thank you for your thoughts, too--so appreciated.

  4. I think that you can celebrate however the h*ll you want. Sending lots of hugs your way this weekend.

    1. Well, I celebrated it by getting the house ready to have 7 people for brunch, cooking said brunch, having the brunch, cleaning up after the brunch, but then having a lovely woodsy walk with Bryce, a nap on the couch, some school work, and we're getting pizza tonight because he is sick of doing dishes. WIN. :) I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day!

  5. Thinking of you as this day has been heavy on your mind, especially this year. You have made great healing progress in celebrating Mother's Day. If this year feels like a dip, that is okay. I can understand not wanting to celebrate fully and it feeling awkward or weird. As you said, maybe ask your family to celebrate your efforts and mother's heart. Celebrate what is. Then, you may not feel like a phoney. If it is uncomfortable for others, it makes them face that truth instead of glossing over it. It could be well intentions, but still does a disservice to all if you do not want to celebrate as a full fledged mom. Celebrating you in how you are comfortable may help your loved ones face their feelings of loss of being a grandparent or aunt to your hoped child. Hugs for you!

    1. Thank you so much, Jamie! Wise words. The brunch was focused on my mom, so we celebrated her and adoption didn't come up once. I have complicated feelings about it not coming up AT ALL, but that's for another time. It was nice to celebrate my mom. I just pretended I had nothing to do with the holiday myself, which was fairly easy to do.

  6. I hope your mother's day went well xxxxx.

    1. It's been okay, thank you! I hope you had a good one yourself.