A Motherless Mom’s Mother’s Day: Finding the Joy to Celebrate


“What are you doing for your mom for Mother’s Day?”


“We’re taking her to brunch.”


This was a lie. Well, sort of. We were taking my Mother-in-Law to brunch. MY mom had been gone for 11 years. The lie seemed easier than to tell this stranger the truth. I didn’t want the pity. I didn’t want to have to explain. I didn’t want to smile it off and say, “It’s okay.” The truth is that lie gutted me. The truth is sometimes it just isn’t okay.


I went back to my desk, texted my best friend to ask her to meet me in an empty meeting room, and I bawled my eyes out.  An innocent question brought back all the pain as if I’d just lost her yesterday. Grief is so funny like that. So nonlinear. So unfair. This isn’t a post to remind you to be mindful of wishing someone a Happy Mother’s Day. That stranger meant me no harm. Instead, I want to talk about how this holiday has changed for me.


For years after my mother passed, this holiday brought me anxiety and sadness. Every year leading up to the day, I never knew how or when the feelings would take over. I’d post a tribute to my mom and then immediately get off social media because I just couldn’t take everyone else’s “I love my mom” type posts.


a mom with a baby in a carrier on her back, and her toddler walking next to her as they explore a park


But Mother’s Day 2018 changed that for me. I had a new identity that Mother’s Day that filled my heart with so much joy there was little space left to feel sad.


I was the mom of an amazing, smiley, happy baby boy. This was now a holiday to celebrate me. Sure, I still missed my mom. Being a motherless mom means I miss her on the daily, but this particular Mother’s Day shifted my thoughts a little. It shifted my feelings from sadness toward gratitude. Gratitude for the woman who raised me because I totally understood now. I understood the sacrifices she made, the depth of her love, and the strength of her heart. Gratitude for this little boy who needed and loved me.


That baby boy is now 3-years-old and has a new title of his own as Big Brother. This Mother’s Day, my heart is double full with the addition of a baby girl. Just like my mom, I have one boy and one girl, and I’m finding sweet peace in that. It’s a weird feeling, but I’m actually looking forward to Mother’s Day this year. I won’t lie, I’m excited to celebrate myself and do or not do exactly what I want without guilt, but I’m also excited to celebrate the two tiny humans who changed this holiday for me. They filled my heart in places where I didn’t even know there were holes. They are my mom’s legacy, which we will also celebrate.