Bells & Whistles
"Midnight, our sons and daughters, cut down, taken from us. Hear their heartbeat. We hear their heartbeat..."
- U2. 1987.
Mother’s Day. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong. I love Mother’s Day when everything is going well, but it can be a major source of upset too. For so many people, Mother’s Day is a day of sadness, frustration, not-enoughness, anger, heartache. I think this year is a good one for me to explore this.
It was my intention to let this day drift past us without acknowledgment this year because it definitely won’t be the same without Darcy here to facilitate the Mother’s Day festivities and I didn’t want to trigger the kids in any way. It is another mile-marker of our loss. Another reminder of all that has changed for us. Another “first”.
Miller came home yesterday feeling very worried about how I was going to feel without all the bells and whistles that Darcy usually busted out on this special day. Gift giving was his love language and he spared no expense for events like this. That was his style. He did things up. We took a moment to cry (not about bells and whistles…just about Dad) and then we started to actually think and talk about what this day means to others who have also lost. Lost in ways that are different from us. Lost in ways that make Mother’s Day the hardest day of the year.
I know people who have lost their mothers to illness, old age, accidents. Whether they were old and sick and it was their time, or they were way too young. Their moms are gone. This day is hard.
I know people who are mothers themselves, who are separated from their kids because they live in different cities or countries. Maybe they are traveling abroad or setting up new, better lives in new places for their families. Either way, this makes the day a little bit bittersweet. Not happy.
I know mothers and kids who are separated from each other because the original plan didn’t work out and there’s been separation or divorce. Some of those moms feel like failures and some of those kids think it’s all their fault. Mother’s Day is painful and confusing.
I know mothers who are separated from their kids because those children are adults who are mentally unwell or addicted and, therefore, it isn’t possible for them to safely interact. This is an EXCRUCIATING day for those mothers.
I know people who’s mothers have disowned them, or vice versa, based on antiquated religious belief systems, over disagreements from the past, or rifts that have flared up because of the current state of the world and differing opinions on covid restrictions, vaccinations and the like. Mother’s Day can be heartbreaking for people in this scenario.
I know people who ache with every fibre of their being to become mothers and, so far, they have no one to call them Mom. This is the worst day for them. I was this Mom for several years. Not only was I sad for myself, but I was envious of the other mothers. Envy is my least favourite feeling. Double hard day.
I know mothers that are battling with illness or chronic physical pain or a lack of energy that holds them back from parenting the way they wish they could. The way they intended to. In some case it holds them back from even hugging their children. Mother’s Day may not feel very awesome to these moms or their kids.
I know moms (myself included) who have had children born with chronic conditions and illnesses that they weren’t expecting. Everything they had hoped and dreamed for their child has had to pivot. This is loss. This is a life they weren’t prepared for. Mother’s Day can be a reminder of this.
I know moms who have lost children. No words. Not a happy day.
There are countless situations that make this a very tough weekend for a lot of families. So our family isn’t going to dwell too much on our misfortune this year. We will try to stay as close to gratitude as we can.
Miller and I took some time to talk about all the awesome Mother’s Day celebrations we have had. Last year was a beautiful charcuterie brunch at the beach followed by a seafood feast on our home deck! It was spectacular. The Wild’s know how to celebrate. And I felt the love in my bones. Every ounce of it.
What Miller DIDN’T know was that there were many a Mother’s Day where his Dad completely failed to meet my expectations! (He set the bar pretty high, that guy). Not least, my very FIRST Mother’s Day in 2011, when Darcy made zero arrangements (and zero cups of coffee in bed, and changed zero diapers) until at 11:00 am I finally told him it was Mother’s Day (MY day!) and he responded with a wide-eyed “Oh. Was I supposed to plan something? I didn’t know that. You’re not my mom.” HA! My incredibly thoughtful husband had just really had never thought of it from this angle.
(Actual footage of him scrambling to make a last minute lunch reservation on Mother's Day in Vancouver!)
So anyways, I am going to have a great Mother’s Day, mostly because I choose to have a great every day, but I am going to honour our loss this year by honouring ALL the other moms and children out there who have lost in one way or another. There are too many to list.
And I can confidently say that Darcy crammed a lifetime of Mother’s Day celebrations and beautiful gifts into the nine opportunities he had to do so. I am grateful that he modelled to my kids what it is to honour people for their roles in our life (even if he needed a little reminder that first time!).
As much as I loved it all, it was never about those bells and whistles for me. It is about cherishing the role of the mother. Honouring those of us who do our best (whatever that looks like...) to steward in the next generation of humans and stand by, bravely, to see whether that goes well or not.
To choose to become a mother is one of the bravest things I can think of. Brave. Not always happy.
So, it's Mother’s Day. Let’s not expect it to be happy. Let’s just let it be.
Til Next Time,
Heal & Be Healed.