While I was feeling sorry for myself, I always imagined a big celebration going on with her adoptive mother--card, flowers, dinner, what-have-you. My daughter had siblings, one adopted, two not, and the patriarch was not likely to let any of them forget about Mother's Day. I never knew if the day went off as I imagined because I never asked. Though I tried to remind myself that the day was a made-up holiday, designed to help Hallmark and florists and restaurants, that never really worked. Everyone else was celebrating Mother's Day--hell, I was too as long as my own mother was alive. After I left Michigan, I sent flowers, I called, I remembered.
|Yes, this is a photo of the card.|
Maybe the day is easier for first mothers if they have other children in their lives, other children who will remember. But that was not my fate. When my daughter was older and married, she did a whole lot better--especially after I told her that her ignoring me on the day had hurt as much as it did. Once I got a wonderful handmade card that said: To my Other Mother. Inside it says: "I couldn't find a card that defined our relationship, but then all truly matters is that is that I let you know, I Love You. Happy Mothers day LORRAINE, love Jane." It must have come with a present, because there is a note on the back about using whatever she sent to "relax after a long hard day."
Now my daughter is gone--she died a decade ago--as well as my mother, and I realize the day is ours to deal with as we choose. I could mope all day, and it is true that throughout the day I will let thoughts of my mother, and my daughter, flit through my head. There will be the kind of sadness that comes with accomodation of the facts of my life, and death. I had a daughter, gave her up, found her, had a 26-year relationship, and then lost her again. I know those facts sound harsh, but as a friend of mine said yesterday, We've all got something. He's been caring for his wife with advanced Alzheimer's for several years at home, and she just had an episode of some sort when her heart stopped, but then started again. She's now hospitalized, and some doctor suggested a pacemaker. Really, I thought? His wife babbles instead of speaks and no longer can be left at home unattended.
|Lorraine with daughter Jane, and her daughter,|
who is now out of college and an art teacher
Yes, I thought, We've all got something. But I will admit that since my daughter died, the way I handle the day is different from when she was alive. For dealing with her death was a matter of mourning, of accommodating grief but with the knowledge that life indeed does go on. The grief wasn't trapped in some damn limbo of closed adoption that leaves you wondering if your child is dead or alive. That kind of grief is insanely consuming, and never changes. You can stomp it down--otherwise you will go crazy--but it's still there like a sore that will not heal to the scar phase.
DON'T JUST STAND THERE AND WEEP...
While I can't put myself into the head of an adopted person, I imagine that if you are longing to at least know your original mother, or have a relationship with her, your also endure Mother's Day rather than "celebrate." For both mothers and adoptees, the day is bound to be fraught. One can be honoring one's adoptive mother, but how can you not be thinking about that other mother? Does she ever think of you? Is she thinking of you on this day? Without answers, with birth records that stay sealed beyond human compassion, the questions remain, peace is impossible.
So for those mothers without children who will be a part of your life on Sunday, and children whose original mothers fill their thoughts, make a plan: Call a friend or someone else who might otherwise be alone. Do something else besides go to lunch in a crowded restaurant. Go to the movies--a funny movie--go shopping, go to a museum, pursue your hobby, go for a a long run or workout at the gym, clean out your closets. If that last one sounds like a chore, it is, but remember that the rewards of feng shui are so energizing. To let new experiences in your life, you need to get rid of the old. Tidied closets end up feeling like a metaphor for your life. Tidied up. Cleaning closets is highly underrated.
And remember, come Monday it will not be Mother's Day for another blessed 364 days!--lorraine
PS: I began writing an addendum about the noxious idea of "Birth Mother's Day," which is apparently the Saturday before Mother's Day, but I was just getting annoyed about such a ridiculous day, designed to normalize giving up a child, that I quit. Supposedly it was started by a first mother herself, and when Googled her, it led to Amazon where you can buy a "Birth Mother's Day Planner.' Which also made me gag. However, there was no picture or anything, and it, blessedly, is not available. Here's what I found in some dumb article in Minneapolis: