Hallmark Pain

With the excitement of Boo and my ten year anniversary barreling down upon us this week (hold all applause, I will be posting about that on THURSDAY), I have managed to overlook and forget about the upcoming Mother's day celebration that is creeping upon us.

I'm not a fan of Mother's day. Sure, I understand, even like the concept of mother's day, but for those of us without mothers, or suffering with mommy issues, the day can just be a painful reminder of what is missing in our own lives.

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While Mother's day hasn't always been easy for me, since the death of my youngest it is positively BRUTAL. Nothing says happy mother's day quite like a granite marker in a quiet cemetery reminding you of the child you lost.

Mother's aren't supposed to lose their children. We are supposed to gestate them, birth them, love them, develop them, annoy them and then one day shove them out the door and hope all the love and strength and morality we have showered on them in their lives proves useful in turning out productive, happy, well-adjusted members of society.

Not once while I was dreaming of what it would be like to be parent did I think to imagine what it would be like to see the inside of the coroner's office, see the damage an autopsy can do to a child's virgin skin, choose my child's coffin. My vision of parenthood never encompassed the idea of a smallish wooden box being lowered on a cloudy cool day while loved ones wept quietly and tossed dirt into a gaping black hole.

Life often doesn't turn out the way we envision it.

(Understatement of the day.)

Ahem. Moving right along.

Yes, I've had a tough time with Mother's day. But with the adoption looming over our heads, I have had to sit back and analyse my role as a mother. Here on my blog, I like to poke at my children, jest about their foibles, examine their moments of idiocy, but I seldom write about the good deeds they perform, or brag about their accomplishments. And they have many. (After all, they take after their mother.)

It is easier to write publicly about when Fric annoyed Frac than it is to share the story of the two of them quietly bonding. This weekend, when Fric sliced open her hand in a dumbass moment (slicing an apple while watching a cartoon on the couch and playing with the dog) Frac wrung his little hands in compassionate worry for his sister. While she was being patched together...six stitches and several cuss words later...Frac called often just to check in on his sibling and to offer his support, unable to relax until he heard her tell him to quit pestering her, she would be alright.

There's nothing funny about that, yet the poignancy of the act left tears in my eyes, and made me ache for their brother and the loss they suffered even more.

My children are happy. They are well-adjusted. They have such a wide streak of responsibility instilled in them that even at their young ages of ten and nine they are already getting calls from other families to watch small children. (Don't worry, I haven't let them answer those calls just yet.) Fric and Frac are smart and wily. They are compassionate and humorous. Simply put, I couldn't be prouder of those two peas in a pod, and I bust with maternal pride more often than I cower with parental shame.

It is just not as easy, nor near as funny to blather on my blog about how super and special and smart and talented my children are. But you can bet your asses they are. And yes, I even believe they are better than your children. (How's them for fighting words?)

I haven't always been the best mother. I have yelled when I shouldn't have, ignored when listening would have been wiser, blogged when I should have been cheating on them with Monopoly. But I have always been a good mother. No, a great mother.

But nobody likes a braggart. Talk about boring. It's more fun (and honest) to point out my inadequacies as a parent. I don't always feed them a well-balanced diet, I swear like a sailor in desperate need of the services of a whore house, I walk around naked, scarring their formative minds permanently, drink beer while screaming at a hockey game on the telly and I have corrupted their delicate minds with my twisted sense of humor. Oh, and I couldn't bake a cookie to save my life.

But despite all of my flaws, I always get down on my knee to offer hugs and kisses. I tell them a hundred times a day that I love them, and I stop and listen when they tell me their secrets, their hopes and their fears and make sure they know they were heard.

Mother's day isn't just about pancakes and brunches. It's about all who I have become, what I have suffered, who I have loved. It can no longer be about my own mother, although I will take a moment to reflect on her and how much I love her, despite all the pain and miscommunications of the past. This mother's day will be about me and how I managed to salvage what was left of my family after tragedy struck us down and took one away.

I am a good momma bear. I just need to remember that this coming Mother's day, when the funny has left my funny bone and the pain looms around my heart. All I need to do is look at the blinding smiles of Fric and Frac, and remember my sweet boy with angel wings, and know it to be true.

This Mother's day, I will be thinking of all of you who don't have mothers, whether through death or circumstances, who will be just a tad lost like myself. I will celebrate motherhood in all of it's glory and pain and gory misery. As a woman and a mother I understand now, just how hard this job can really be. And let's face it, not everyone can be as wonderful at this mothering gig as me.

Wink, wink.

While I may not be with my mother, I won't be alone. I will be with my family, my children. I will have my lovely mother-in-law to torment as only I can. And this time, when the kids and I make our pilgrimage to the cemetery, I'm going to tell Bug I love him and miss him and yes, I DID do everything within my power as his mother to love him and heal him.

And then I'm going to chase my living children around the tomb stones. Let's see who really can run the fastest.

I can hear Bug laughing already.