I’ve been in a funk since Mother’s Day. Can’t say I’m fond of most holidays printed on a calendar unless they come with an extra weekend day to take a camping trip but don’t involve a guilt trip, unrealistic expectations or conflicting emotions. Those Hallmark holidays are usually a set-up for disappointment and frustration and this past Sunday was no different.
I’ve been a mother for more than half my life now and it remains the most challenging identity—far beyond that of being a daughter, wife, sister, or aunt. I became a mom at 19, two weeks shy of my 20th birthday. Six months after B’s birth, I went back to school and combined the roles of college student and single parent for the next seven years through undergraduate and graduate school. Those years are somewhat of a blur and must be why my body now demands at least eight hours of sleep a night because I certainly didn’t get those hours back then. Always a mid-term to study for, a paper to write in the hours after play, dinner, story and bedtime.
So I admit to having deflated expectations when the only contact I received from my first-born on Mother’s Day was a text message and a promise to call after work, (which she didn’t.) I know, I know, she’s 20, busy living her own life in the city. But what about all the years that I struggled to stay in school and raise her too? The nights of mopping her feverish forehead when I had a final to study for the following day, carrying her in a backpack to lectures because I couldn’t afford enough hours of childcare, taking out additional student loans (that I am still repaying) because quality preschool was twice the cost of our rent?
I don’t want to whine and wallow, but a little recognition, some acknowledgement would sure be nice. Yes, my feelings are hurt. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but these feelings linger and I’m tired of pushing them aside.
I am so grateful for two healthy children, for being able to spend time with my own mother on Mother’s Day. But even when I try so hard to focus on these blessings in my life, I am derailed by negative emotions. Why? Is it that I try in vain to bury them so deep that others can’t see them? So others can’t judge me?