Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mothers of sons

Mother's Day is always a bittersweet celebration for me. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from my family that the spring gifting season is over.....our wedding anniversary followed by my birthday and then Mother's Day is almost more than the males can handle.  

I recall those early years of our marriage when, at Sunday mass on Mother's Day, the priest would ask all of the mothers to stand for special recognition. I desperately wanted to join those standing but God had not yet blessed us with our sons. It was another example of my belief that I was a cucumber in a world of watermelons and all I could think about was being a watermelon. Not being able to stand with the watermelons was a knife in my heart.

Then there were the years that the entire family dreaded going to church on Mother's Day because we knew what we had to look forward to when it came time for the homily.  Father Jerry always started off his sermon with something like, "Please stand so that we can bless all of the mothers here today even though I hate this day. You see, my mother died on Mother's Day." Talk about a buzz kill!  If his intention was to make us all feel sorry for him, it worked but probably not in the way he hoped. I felt sorry that he felt the need to try to spoil the day for everyone else and it reinforced my opinion that he was a deeply troubled individual.

I lost my mom almost 6 years ago and I miss her every every day...not just on Mother's Day.  I still think that I should make that phone call every Sunday.  A 40 year old habit is hard to break.

Those gifts that the boys made at preschool and elementary school were definitely the sweet
moments.  I'm thankful that I can look forward to reliving these joys vicariously through our DIL as her time to be on the receiving end of these glue ladened treasures is just beginning. I still have some of these favorite gifts pressed away in baby books. 

But being the mother of only boys puts the "holiday" in a different perspective. I've envy my friends as they rushed off to those Mother/Daughter banquets, those Mom and me spa days, those girl's only shopping trips. I know God knew what he was doing when He decided that I wouldn't be the best parent for a girl....I'm horrible at hair bows and makeup...but missing out on buying that First Communion dress and watching your baby girl say yes to THE dress are moments I'll never have.  Boys don't need a mother to pick out a tux and in the case of a wedding even they really have little say in the matter.  The bride has final approval of all things wedding. I've missed those shared mother daughter confidences. Boys don't tell you about their first are forced to guess...or, as I did, interrogate their friends.  Boys generally are not sentimental so those family treasures that have passed from generation to generation will likely not pass on once I'm gone.  Understandably a DIL doesn't know those family stories and has her own family history to carry on.  She doesn't know that the trunk in the bedroom is the one that my nonie carried all of her worldly possessions in on her trip to the new world or that the wooden box on the chest in the living room is my grandma's sewing box that once held the most fascinating collection of buttons.  No one will want that wooden ironing board that my mother purchased with her first paycheck.  I don't recall what I bought with my first paycheck but I'm fairly certain it wasn't an ironing board.  The brave young lady that marries into a family with only sons is not in an enviable me, I know.

So in the absence of birth daughters I filled my life with virtual daughters....sweet young teachers who needed a school mom (yes, SGW, that is you), young mother neighbors whose own moms were miles away (LDM), students whose mothers didn't "understand" them, high school girls who didn't fit in anywhere and hid out in the library, young friends who needed an adult to plead their case for unlimited texting, and the step daughter of a dear friend who needed a designated mom on girls only outings. ( I was the only mom without a daughter and I'm sure she felt sorry for me and wanted me to feel included. She was like that.)  I'm sure I will continue to add to my collection of "daughters". 

But finally with the addition of a fabulous DIL and beautiful granddaughter (AKA Miss Perfect) I can join the Mother/Daughter club. I know it isn't really the same as I must share them with other strong women in her family but it's a step in the right direction. And maybe, some day, I'll get to share in that "Say yes to the dress" moment.... Things are looking up.