Is It Happy or Unhappy Mothers Day For You Today?

It’s my first Mother’s Day without my mother. She died September 13, 2013. So this post is for all those readers who:

Have lost their mothers, never knew their mothers, fought with them, ran away from them, were embarrassed by them, or were hurt by them.

This post is for the broken mothers, the ones sitting in jail, the ones who are too sick to hug their kids, the ones who hit and yell and scream at their kids because they don’t know any better, and then are ashamed when Mother’s Day rolls around and wish they could do it differently.

This post honors all mothers, no matter where they are, or what they’ve done.

It’s a depressing holiday, come to think about it, because there’s so much pressure on children to find a way to thank their mothers, and so much pressure on mothers to be perfect in their children’s eyes.

So here’s to sloppy, ambivalent, trying, intense, imperfect love between mothers and their children. Here is to learning how to mother ourselves. Here is to finding some kind of way to fill the void. And transforming our loss into…what? Strength. Perseverance. Poetry.

Here’s to recognizing authentic, honest mothers who are only human, after all. Which means that they’re here on earth for a while, and then they’re gone.

If you have lost your mother, I hope today is a day you feel her presence, and not just her absence. I hope her memory gives you some kind of strength. I hope she’ll always be, as my mother used to tell my kids, that little bird flying over your shoulder. Flapping away before you even know it, waving its wing, good-bye.

My mother, Gladys Katcher Bletter, holding me.

My mother, Gladys Katcher Bletter, holding me.

Here are some fabulous New Yorker covers for Mother’s Day. And, a moving, beautiful piece, “The Unmothered,” by Ruth Margalit here.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
This entry was posted in Acceptance, Being a Hero In Your Life, Transformation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is It Happy or Unhappy Mothers Day For You Today?

  1. Beautiful post, Diana. The lines “…I hope today is a day you feel her presence, and not just her absence…” touched me deeply, even though my mother is still alive. Dementia makes her “absent,” but I’m grateful my memories are still vivid and strong and real.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Marylin, that is true for you as well, isn’t it? Dementia robs your mother of all that she was. But at least you have her writing and your wonderful gift of re-telling her stories.

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