Mother’s Day is around the corner, and it looks like most of us are going to be spending it at home. It isn’t safe yet to resume our usual activities. COVID-19 is still claiming lives (including very young ones) every day, and we need more time at home to keep it at bay. Easter was tough for many of us, as we had to lay our traditions aside and do things a different way.
My family made the most of that holiday. I have no doubt that we will make the most of Mother’s Day, too.
My husband will make sure the kids have little trinkets to give me. He will get up early, let me sleep, and make me pancakes. My boys will bring them to me in bed, and we will snuggle and play and eat breakfast together. It will be a nice day. I’m sure of it.
Nobody will let me forget how happy they are that I’m the mom around here. It still feels really miraculous to me that I’m a mom at all. It took us almost seventeen years together to finally complete our family, and I feel so lucky that Mother’s Day is my day. There were years I wondered if that would ever happen.
But Mother’s Day will be bittersweet for me because someone will be missing.
Just over a year ago, my mom moved to be closer to her sisters. She needed a change, and since she loves to travel, we knew that being far apart would be okay. She would fly in often and wouldn’t miss anything. For a while, it worked out great.
It’s just that when she left, we didn’t think about things like global pandemics.
It’s been a few months now since her last visit. When my daughter was born in whirlwind circumstances in early January, my mom flew in and kept our life running. She kept my older kids fed and happy when my baby was readmitted to the hospital for jaundice. She got me through those weeks when sleep was non-existent, and my body was trying to return to normal after a c-section.
The day we took her to the airport to return home, everyone shed a few tears. Nobody was ready to see her go. But she promised she would be back soon. Before we said goodbye, she handed my oldest son a little paper calendar. She had marked every day until Easter, assuring my son she would be here before the Bunny.
Soon after she left, the novel coronavirus reached the United States, and that little calendar stopped being our beacon of hope. It became a sad reminder of what wouldn’t be this year. It’s not safe for her to travel here right now. Even though we are only a two-hour plane ride apart, we might as well be living on separate planets.
My mom didn’t get here before the Easter Bunny, and she won’t be coming for Mother’s Day, either.
Right now, we don’t know when we will see each other again, and that feeling is heavy and sad and hard.
Really, really hard.
Every fiber of my being wants to tell her to just skip the plane, hop in her car and drive here. Just pretend this pandemic isn’t happening, and get here however she can. I miss her. I want to wake up on Mother’s Day and see her sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee. She would be curled up in her big sweatshirt. Her drugstore readers would be perched over her prescription glasses, so she can see the crossword puzzle on her iPhone screen.
She should be here holding my baby, and snuggling with my boys. I can let go of the fancy brunches, the church services, and even the shopping trips that Mother’s Day usually brings.
But Mother’s Day without my mom feels absurd. In every single version of my perfect Mother’s Day, she is here.
This feeling of sadness is coupled with immeasurable gratitude. I know how lucky I am that my mom is alive and well, even if she is a thousand miles away. She lives in an area that has been hit much harder than mine, and every day that she is healthy, I am deeply thankful.
I pray for her safety and ours every day. But I believe that God helps those who help themselves. While I pray, I also stay home most of the time, don’t invite anyone to my home, wear a mask to the grocery store, stay at least six feet from anyone I encounter in public, wash my hands and keep them off my face.
I also encourage my mom to stay away because traveling isn’t what’s best for her or for us right now.
As much as we wish we could be together on the one day a year set aside for Moms, it would be selfish for us to plan a trip right now. We have to do our part, and we have to be smart.
Thus far, coronavirus has only been an inconvenience and an emotional burden for my family, and that is lucky. I am grateful. There are thousands of families who have lost someone they love to this virus very recently. I am not suggesting that my sadness in any way rivals theirs. Their grief is deeper than my disappointment.
They are why I am choosing to be without my mom on Mother’s Day. Those families are the reason my mom is choosing to be without her children and grandchildren, too. To honor their loss, we will do the only things we can do to make sure fewer families suffer as they have.
If we have to sacrifice our idea of a “perfect Mother’s Day” to do our part in bringing this virus to heel, it’s a small price to pay. We are more than willing to do it.
But it’s still Mother’s Day, and I really miss my mom. I can’t wait until we can be together again.
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