The last Mother’s Day I ever spent with my mom was 16 years ago. I was 11.
It was about a month after my mom had been diagnosed with melanoma and just a few months before she died, a few days before Christmas.
I don’t remember anything about that day. We probably went to church that second Sunday in May, and we probably went to the chain Italian restaurant up on Forest Lane where we always went on special occasions.
But since the last Mother’s Day I spent with my mom, that day has been just a day. Plenty of birthdays and holidays make me miss my own mom, but Mother’s Day just isn’t one of them — and it never really has been.
I got to thinking about why this is (besides the cynical explanation that I am an adult and I am aware that this “holiday” isn’t really a thing, so is therefore not a thing to be sad about), so I did a little bit of digging about what and why Mother’s Day is.
Anna Jarvis can be credited with inventing Mother’s Day when in 1908 in Webster, W.V., she held a memorial at her local church three years after her own mother had died. She originally did it to memorialize her late mom, but campaigned to expand the holiday to celebrate all moms everywhere.
My own flesh-and-blood mother is no longer here with me. But since the day she died, I’ve adopted so many mothers throughout my life (or, rather, they’ve adopted me) that all love me in different ways, even though they know I used to sneak out of their houses in high school.
For the majority of the recent past, I haven’t had just one mom to ask for guy advice or what I should do about my career or if that dress is too low-cut; I’ve had dozens.
There’s the mom who took me to get my first manicure before the eighth grade dance and another mom who constantly reminds me to either leave all my nail polish on or take it all off. Anything in between is unacceptable.
I have to thank another mom for successfully searing into my brain that you are supposed to put your knife and fork diagonally across your plate to signal that you’re finished and that it’s rude to lick your plate clean, unfortunately.
Another mom of mine always stands up for me when my friends pick on me (I’m the shortest one, so it’s pretty easy) and another who just by hearing the sound of her voice reminds me of my own.
There’s the mom who offers me unconditional love and support in whatever I decide to do in my life, whether those decisions are really stupid or not. (They usually are.)
Without my many moms, I would have never been invited to many awesome family dinners or the family beach vacation where we saw Long Duk Dong from “Sixteen Candles.”
There is my stepmom, who is nothing short of the best, and there are all of my friends who will one day be moms (none of them are quite there yet, thank God) and who will eventually teach me more than I could ever learn on my own.
I don’t get sad on Mother’s Day because I don’t have time; there are too many other moms out there to celebrate.
Sure, Mother’s Day is a day for taking your mom out to a nice lunch and maybe even forcing yourself to go to church if that’s what she’s into. It’s for remembering your late mom and maybe being sad for a minute or two.
But for me — from now on — Mother’s Day is a day when I think about just how damn lucky I am to have had my own mom once and now to have so many more.