Skipping Mother's Day: I'm a mom of two but this holiday hurts my heart

Every May for the past twelve years, I cringe at the first ads and greeting cards I see as Mother’s Day approaches. The syrupy sweet tearjerker commercials that demonstrate just how irreplaceable and special a mother is get clicked off immediately.

When restaurants display their delectable offerings for Mother’s Day brunch -- which apparently is the most popular holiday to dine out -- I turn away, willing myself back to reality, to the world where I am a mother myself but without my own mom any longer. I would just rather skip the holiday all together.

Skipping Mother’s Day is not a diss on mothers at all. In fact, mothers should be celebrated more than one day of the year. The work of raising children is difficult. Mothers give until it hurts and then do it again the next day and the day after that and keep giving of themselves for years.

Now that I have children of my own, I realize the sacrifices that my own mother endured so I could become the person I am today. I just wish she had lived long enough so I could tell her ‘thank you’ and apologize for all the mistakes I made growing up, for never being grateful enough for what she did for me.

Now that I have children of my own, I realize the sacrifices that my own mother endured so I could become the person I am today. I just wish she had lived long enough so I could tell her ‘thank you’" and apologize for all the mistakes I made growing up...

I wish I had given my mom flowers more than just on Mother’s Day, sent her cards or visited more often once I left home and tried to make my way in the world.

She died of breast cancer before I ever got married and had children and I wish I had asked her how the heck she raised three good children who kept their faith and became thoughtful and kind adults (most of the time). How did she choose to love my dad through 30 years of marriage in all the ups and downs that life threw at them?

These questions remain unanswered and the giant hole her death left in my life is unfilled. These are all the thoughts that swirl around my heart when the pink hearts and flower ads saturate television and the Internet around Mother’s Day.

Of course, there are ways to celebrate Mother’s Day without a mother -- plant a flower in her honor, cook her favorite recipe, drink her favorite glass of wine, write her a letter. I tried those during the first few years after her death, and while they did bring a measure of comfort, I just wanted her there, not her memory.

So I stopped celebrating Mother’s Day. I turned off the television so I wouldn’t see the ads, avoided the greeting card aisle, and just tried to escape that day.

But now that I have children of my own, is it fair that my own grief deprives my children of celebrating their mother? Part of this answer lies in my feelings of inadequacy as a mom, someone who struggles with how I measure up against my mother.

I saw a woman who gave up everything for her family, endured a difficult childhood and came out the other side full of faith and hope, someone who was patient and kind and loving.

I want to be like her. Those jokes about daughters turning into their mothers? I want that.

If my children want to celebrate Mother’s Day, I would be humbled to accept their cards and homemade gifts, their fingerprints in the shape of flowers, and their cute poems about mom. My children are my greatest treasures, just as my brothers and I were for our mother.

It’s my hope that those of us who are motherless daughters can find our place as moms, even though our guiding light has been extinguished.  And if we are less than enthusiastic about Mother’s Day, it doesn’t mean the love for our children and families is less. It just means that the onslaught of everything-mom on Mother’s Day is too much for our hearts to handle.