This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. As I scrolled through my Facebook I saw all the pictures of friends celebrating with their children and their parents. Brunch. Flowers. Cakes. But there we’re other pictures too, the unmistakable nostalgic pictures of mothers on their wedding days or mothers cradling infant versions of my friends, and the endless roll of memorials to mothers lost to Alzheimer’s, cancer and old age. Mother’s Day is a difficult day to orphans, for mothers who have lost children, for women who were unable to have children or for women who had to give children up.
For me, it was a difficult day because I lost my mom two years ago and I don’t have any children. These past few years I’ve found myself feeling like an outsider on Mother’s Day. Not to say I’m wallowing in self-pity, just aware that I had no one in particular to celebrate with.
This is something we seldom talk about. Celebration naturally and unintentionally excludes others. If you have a party, there’s always someone who wasn’t invited, that just how it is.
On Mother’s Day one of girlfriends called and asked if I was having a difficult day. I’m not sure I had realized why I felt blue but I’m so grateful that she made the space for me to feel my feelings. I appreciated that she took time out from her own celebration to reach out to me. It reminded me of the power of just reaching out, saying a simple hello and asking how someone is doing. With a cellphone in my pocket it’s never been easier.
It made me realize that I could make it a habit when I’m celebrating to connect with friends who might not be celebrating. On Father’s Day after I call my Dad, I could also call my friend who lost hers. Or on the Fourth of July call my cousin who recently moved across country.
Every time I burst out of my own habit of isolation or self-focus I have the opportunity to help two people: The person I call and me.