My world has been filled with so many Mother's Days,
when I have joined with others
in honoring and celebrating the women in my life
who are such extraordinary mothers.
my own mom.
But also, my grandmothers, sister, sister-in-law,
and on goes the list.
For years, I was among the celebrators.
But this year, for the first time, I will be among the celebrated.
The year after we lost our baby to miscarriage, we joined a church,
and I started singing in the folk choir.
It was the Sunday of Mother's Day, and at one point, the priest asked all the moms to rise and be acknowledged.
I didn't know what to do.
(Of course I was a mom, technically.
I had given birth, after all.)
But I wasn't presently parenting a child.
I was absolutely frozen.
So I balked.
And didn't stand.
My friend and fellow singer nudged me and whispered, "Kathleen, stand up!"
And I whispered back, "But I'm not a mom."
(Oh, God, did I just say that out loud? That hurts way more than I thought it would.)
"Oh, you don't have children? I thought you did!?!" she replied.
I just shook my head and looked away.
And then the guilt set in.
Should I have stood up?
Hell, yes. But it's complicated.
I should have honored my baby's memory by proudly rising
and acknowledging that he had existed.
But I wasn't presently parenting, I argued with myself.
I may have felt the pains of labor
but I had never felt its warm, wiggling rewards.
It was so confusing and infuriating, and it hurt.
I went home and cried.
And went out of my way to avoid the Mother's Day mass for the next several years.
With the exception of the past few rocky years,
I have celebrated on Mother's Day.
But never have I been one of the celebrated.
This year, it's different.
This year, Mother's Day takes on a profoundly new meaning to me.
I have been humbled by its blessings
and by mothering my Matthew.
This year, I will be in Pennsylvania visiting my family.
I will go to church with my mom.
And when the priest asks the mothers to rise,
Proudly I will.
For not one, but two, reasons.
Happy Mother's Day to every one of you fabulous, sexy, crazy, lovestruck moms.
I may be coming into this a little late, but I have learned from so many of you, and your paved path has made mine all the easier. You are my giants, my mentors, my mothers, my friends.