sometime after I turned 12, while rummaging around in my mom's little makeshift library in our large, well-lit basement, I came across a story she had written in the late 60's as a pregnant newlywed living on a kibbutz in Israel, while my dad was off fighting in the Six-Day War. I think of her, painting the light-bulbs black and leaving only a small spot for the light to filter through, to conceal themselves as best they could, as some of the fighting was quite near the kibbutz. how she must have looked, the anxiety she must have been feeling, and the hope she must have been trying to hold on to through those words. I wish I had a copy of the story called "Sarah" where she began by recalled the story of the Biblical Sarah, watching her Abraham take her only beloved son Isaac to be sacrificed on the altar of this 'new god' he was communing with, and questioning what kind of god he was to demand such a travesty as tribute. then there was a page break after which she wrote, "I am Sarah..." (it was her Hebrew name) and wrote about how so many of the women felt, watching their men go off to battle, wondering if they'd come back, and if they did, if they would come back 'whole'. the story switched back to the Biblical Sarah's perspective - an anxious mother watching for her husband to return from the mountain alone, her heart deeply wounded, only to see two silhouettes on the horizon, and running to them filled with the highest joy and gratitude. to conclude, she wrote about reading over the lists of names of the deceased, and her relief at not finding her husband there (though many other women did, and I don't wish to diminish the memory of those that we mourned), along with her elation when my father returned to her, safe and sound.
today is that dreaded stupid holiday I know I've written about on here before, though I couldn't find any of those posts in a quick search. as a single mom, Mother's Day is just another day for me to do all the mom things, and get little to no appreciation for my efforts. when my Teen was little, I'd get some cute paper projects that his teacher made all the kids do in school, and there was that one year when he drew me breakfast in bed - so cute! there might have even been some cheap gifts that the wealthy school district donated for the poor kids to bring home, but that might have just been for Hannukah, I don't remember. either way, my point is, today is a day for me to stay off of social media because seeing all the 'proper' families doing all the culturally acceptable things for the moms in their lives makes me feel inadequate on a good day, which is to say nothing of how it makes me feel on a day like today, when I'm missing my own mom, who passed away 6 weeks ago. my day so far has consisted of the horrid odor of the septic tank being pumped, followed by the horrible smell of the bleach I used to clean the backed-up excrement out of my bathtub - though I am grateful that there's no longer human waste bubbling up from the drain, and that my toilet is once again flushing properly. then I sat down to honor my mom by writing about her, and began to cry. just now, my Teen woke up and emerged from his bedroom, mumbled 'good morning', made himself a bowl of cereal, and went back into his room to commence the day's video gaming. yup. that's it. stuff that in your Mother's Day pipe and smoke it, because I have laundry to do, dishes to wash, paperwork to sort and file, etc, etc...no brunch and mani/pedi's here. no champagne or flowers, massages, chocolates, what-have-you.
but the point here was to talk about my mom. she was the ideal mother up until I hit puberty, and things went downhill for us from there. even though we had a rocky relationship, she was my mom, and I always loved her, even when I hated her. she drove 4 1/2 hours to the hospital in February - even though she hated Winter, and I lived in Vermont - when I went into labor, because she desperately wanted to see her youngest grandchild being born (she wasn't allowed in the room for my sister-in-law's three births, which I understand from my sister-in-law's point of view, though I can also understand my mom's disappointment). she adored my son from the get-go (as she did all her grandchildren), even though she couldn't restrain herself from making some pointed comments about...ahem, the other half of his dna...when he was very little, which I immediately nipped in the bud. we spent years on the outs, with a few good times here and there, but all in all, now that she's gone, those bad times hardly matter at all, and I just wish we had had more time to be friends, and keep making the good memories. she spent two weeks with me before she passed, and I'm SO grateful we had that time together, for myriad reasons. her death was unexpected, to say the least...and the hurdles that needed to be cleared in order to lay her to rest on our kibbutz in Israel, next to her beloved husband, during a global pandemic, were many - but it did happen.
so yeah - I'm a big emotional mess today. how to honor her memory? she didn't like cut flowers, "because they were dead". I do, so maybe I'll buy myself some. she enjoyed being taken out for brunch by her grandkids, but I'm still estranged from the rest of my family, so that's not going to happen...perhaps I can cook up one of her recipes? that's a possibility. I can't visit her grave, as it's in another country...I'm not financially solvent enough to donate to a good cause like Miry's List, which helps welcome refugee families into new communities, or the National Bail Out fund, specifically for Black moms, but I can share the link, and maybe someone else who is, can. I can visit the waterfall in Parksville where she spent childhood summers, and liked to go to honor her ancestors, watch a movie that she loved, or listen to music she enjoyed. maybe I can even work on one of the several knitting projects I'm sure I have tucked away among my craft hoard. I'm planning to do a tarot card pull and see if she wants to offer me any advice through that medium. and - and this is big - I can mother myself. that's right, I still need mothering, too (don't we all? no matter how old we get?), and even though I've been working on that for years, I still need the reminder that I'm worthy of my own best mothering techniques, which include wrapping myself up in comfort, and making sure I feel nourished, whatever that might look like for me in the moment. today, I guess that looks like doing dishes/laundry/paperwork and avoidance, but I may also take some time to lay up on the couch, and demand that the Teen cook me dinner - he's fully capable, and it's the least I deserve out of respect for all I do for him. we'll see...(he made cheeseburgers and frozen French fries, yum!)
and not only that, let's take more than a moment to remember the Great Mother who gives life to us all, this amazing planet we live on! here's a link to help find some ways to do that, if you don't (or even if you do) make caring for our Earth a part of your daily life.
in honor of the mothers I've known, and the ancestors I didn't, today I remember Sue (Sarah), Ayala, Sapta, Sapta Liza, Grandma Mirjam, Little Grandma, Regina, and Estar. thank you for everything ~ 💖