Today is Mother’s Day. Growing-up, my family pooh-poohed Hallmark holidays. There was no pressure for us to give presents or buy flowers. I still don’t take these holidays very seriously. I certainly prefer not to vie for a seat in a restaurant on Valentines or Mother’s day. Don’t get me wrong - I love flowers and gifts are nice and any excuse to be spoiled is welcome. But I don’t want my daughter or sweetheart to feel like it’s required.
The other day I helped my friend buy flowers for her mother’s grave. We chose petunias that will spread across the plot in bursts of pink and purple throughout the summer, thanks to her devoted father’s watering can. My mother has no grave. My siblings and I discussed perhaps getting a memorial bench in a beautiful spot, but for a myriad of reasons, never followed through. I’m glad. I need not be worried about whether the wood is rotting or if a creepy bigot has chosen it as their favorite spot. I am gratefully free of the guilty feeling of worry and obligation that so permeated my relationship with my mother. I can simply – remember her. I imagine her spirit not in a plot, but everywhere. She is wherever the hell her cantankerous soul wants to be. I think of her as much happier than in life – much easier without clouds of guilt hovering over me. I remember her as doing her best and ultimately, loving me unconditionally. Sometimes, I miss her.