Happy Mother’s Day! This particular day is often difficult for me. I’m usually left alone to mourn my Mom all over again. It’s hard for some to understand — to those who never made a big deal about the holiday and who still have their mom with them.
I would be celebrating my sister-in-law since I am still in New York, but she, my brother and the kids are with her mother in Queens today. Once again, I am left alone today, thinking of my mother.
But this year feels different. While the weather is rainy, the birds are chirping and I’m still smiling over the beautiful gesture my 6-year-old niece made last weekend. Samantha, my brother’s daughter, is also my Goddaughter. I thought it would be nice to have a day to spend with just her.
Last Sunday, I took her to Manhattan to Alice’s Tea Cup for lunch followed by a trip to Make Meaning — a crafting place. Sam wanted to make something for Mother’s Day. Over lunch, her imagination ran wild on what we could make. She asked if I would be making something too. I knew she’d want me to, and I enjoyed being creative still, just like when I was a kid and begged my parents for a pottery wheel for my birthday. I haven’t grown out of it.
I told Sam I would be making something as well. Her face brightened and she said, “I have an idea! You can make something for your mom, too!” I was worried I was going to have the conversation with her again. The one where I explained that her grandma — my mother — was in Heaven. But she remembered and knew exactly what she was suggesting. “You can put it on her grave.” I smiled at her, wanting to cry, and squeeze her. Sam is at that age when she’s absolutely adorable, witty and quick as a whip. She either melts your heart or tests your patience to the point where you can’t believe she’s the same kid. My mother would have enjoyed her and my nephew so, so much, and they would have adored her right back.
Samantha sometimes throws tantrums and talks back, but when something is important and meaningful, she gets it. Like when I showed her my great granny’s recipe box. She was so excited to look through all of the recipes that were written by our relatives, and even me, as a kid. When she looked at me and asked if she could come up with a recipe, I knew how important she knew that box was to me. She ran around my sister’s house, exclaiming how her recipe was added to the box — showing all of my siblings. We all got the importance of that moment.
While my mother was not here to see Samantha come into this world, and she only saw my nephew, Sebastian as a baby, that does not mean Mom is not here to help us teach her and keep certain family traditions alive.
We have so few of my childhood traditions left. It’s no one’s fault. The family has gotten bigger, we’ve gotten older, and it was important for us to let go of some things, but not all is lost.
This Mother’s Day, I don’t feel alone. I am not in mourning all over again. I feel loved and like I’m good at loving, especially children. Someday I’d like to have a child of my own and spend many Mother’s Days with he/she or them.
As I gear up to move back to Nashville in a couple of weeks, it’s hard for me to think of leaving these children and my brother — who I’ve just grown closer to with age. It’s particularly hard knowing I am a piece of my mother to my brother, and with me leaving, he feels like she’s dying all over again.
It’s difficult for me to explain to him and the children why I can’t stay. It’s not them. It’s this feeling inside my heart that tells me I’m not supposed to be here — in New York. It’s the feeling I get in my heart when I’m in Nashville — like I’m onto something special.
But I will always be with him and those kids when I can. I just hope they all understand that. Like Mom, I have a knack for silliness and will always be good to make those kids laugh and maybe even my siblings, too, when they don’t feel very much like laughing.