Mother of All Mavens

A whole lot o' nothing. And then some…

I hate Mother’s Day. Like, really, really hate it. I always have. I hated it when I was young and childless and I truly abhorred it once I became a mother. I thought it was a fake holiday made for people who didn’t have a great relationship with their mothers. It felt like an excuse for the kid to acknowledge the mother “for a change”. But, for me, someone who spoke to her mom multiple times a day, hung out with her all the time, and – as an adult – made dinners/brunches for her on a regular basis, it was ridiculous. 

When my kids were little, I couldn’t understand why I, in the midst of “actively mothering” had to run around making plans/meals/reservations for the grandmothers. Shouldn’t Mother’s Day – if you had to celebrate it – be for the young moms in the trenches with their kids? Shouldn’t it be a day where we could NOT mother and just take some time for ourselves? I figured Mother’s Day should be for moms with kids 0-13 and then it should be over. 

My own mother, however, was obsessed with Mother’s Day. She claimed it was her most favourite day of the year. I think she preferred her birthday, but she insisted it was Mother’s Day: “because nothing was more important than being a mother”. She even bought me a gift on Mother’s Day – for making her a mother. 

Eventually, we found a happy medium: I’d be with my kids in the morning, we’d do one meal with the kids with her, one meal with my mother-in-law, and my mom and I would go and spend some time together on our own somewhere in between. More often than not, I’d take her to a movie. In the years when nothing was playing, we’d walk the streets or hang out in her apartment. While I still loathed the “holiday”, I knew how much it meant to her, and thus an uneasy peace was established. 

And then my mom died, suddenly, in January. There were no goodbyes, no last minute wishes. I FaceTimed her on a Friday night, and she fell and never recovered on the Saturday morning. Make no mistake, it has been extremely, overwhelmingly, difficult. I look for her everywhere and miss her terribly. She was one-in-a-million, and yes, I know everyone says that about their own moms, but everyone says that TO me about MY mom. I won’t rehash the eulogies from her funeral (which was apparently “fabulous” – for a funeral – and can be watched here) but she was something else. She was Rosemary, which says it all for those who knew her.

Since January 24th, there have been a handful of “firsts” that have been horrible: first Valentine’s Day (she loved that holiday too), first time landing after a flight and not calling her to say I’d arrived safely, first vacation in her condo without her there, first Passover. Each was more emotionally hideous than the next. And with each “first” I found myself in touch with other members of the 2024 freshman cohort of the Dead Parent’s Club: a truly vile club in which we all, eventually, become members. We were all going through it. And it sucked.

As Mother’s Day loomed, I prepared for the worst of the firsts. I knew it would suck, I knew I’d be devastated. I knew if would be terrible.

I posted a picture of my mom and my kids on social media, and braced myself. 

And then something funny happened… I received the most amazing gifts: a ton of notes and texts and calls. Some made me laugh, some made me cry. Hard. Because they were so moving, so loving, and so wonderful. I cried tears of joy, not because I missed my mom on Mother’s Day. Hell, I miss my mom every day! In fact, I hate to say it, but yesterday was one of the best Mother’s Days I’ve ever had. There was no pressure, my kids and husband were total superstars, and my friends – and my mother’s friends – all showed up in the most meaningful ways.

In the end, I finally got the Mother’s Day I’d always wished for – and the one I never, ever wanted. 

10 Responses

  1. Dear Carolyn, Just read this and my heart broke for you. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending love from across the ocean, Rachel xxx

  2. That was the message I knew would be from you A healthy combination of love loneliness and a very huge dose of humour
    I didn’t call you on Mothers Day
    Don’t ask me why , guess I was too busy enjoying my day and being selfishly selfish
    All of what you are experiencing is completely normal It won’t pass but it will lessen
    We all miss her a lot but I take comfort in the wonderfully fulfilling life she had and the wonderful memories she has left us
    And yes I would love a walk when you are ready
    Love me

  3. Dear Carolyn:

    Sorry to hear the news — but happy to read the glowing tribute.

    I never got to meet your Mom but you spoke of her often. I recall the story when you were in Florida, after having your first child and sans David , and it was on a day when a new mother can, for whatever reason, decide that she does not need to see her husband so much, and your mother took you aside to say, I understand that feeling and it will pass.

    And I think she was right. As she seemed to have been in so many things.



  4. Sorry I didn’t check insta yesterday as would have realised it was Mother’s Day in US/Canada. Loved your post and love you and your mum!❤️

  5. Well, this is just beautiful, dear friend. thank you for sharing your vulnerability and for being open.

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