Remembering Mom Today

The Girls on rickiheller.com

The Girls having a little wrestle-fest in the back yard.

For someone who’s been without her mother for quite a long time (my mum died in 1991), I tend to think about her rather a lot.

Maybe it’s the little photo of her perched on my bedside table that I see every morning and evening. Maybe it’s the increasing resemblance to her face I spy in the mirror every day. Maybe it’s the way I still automatically scream out, “Maaa!!” whenever a stray bee or spider surprises me with its presence. Whatever the reason, nary a day goes by when I don’t think about my mom.

As I’ve observed my friends-who-are-mothers raising their children, I’ve come to appreciate more and more what my mother offered in the time we were together.

For the first few years after she died, I refused to acknowledge Mother’s Day. I’d deliberately make other plans that would divert my attention, such as going to a movie, attending a workout class (ah, the days of attending workout classes. . . !), or cleaning out the kitchen cupboards (ah, the days of cleaning out. . . anything).

More recently, though, I’ve learned to embrace the day wholeheartedly. After all, I’ve realized, anyone can celebrate mothers today, whether it be their own biological moms or moms of the heart.

I may not have children, but I have certainly felt the yanking of the maternal heartstrings any time one of my beloved Girls has been sick or injured. I’ve lived through vicarious motherhood, experiencing the traumas and frustrations of raising toddlers to youngsters to teens to young adults alongside my best friends who have children. And I’ve felt something akin to the love of a daughter, directed at dear relatives and friends who’ve shown me the affection and care much like that my own mom did way back when.

Elsie on rickiheller.com

“Mum, sorry about that yanking of the heartstrings stuff. I hope it didn’t hurt.”

And so, for any of you who are mothers today, who have or had mothers, or who are close to a mother–here’s wishing you a very happy, loving, and joyful day.  And don’t forget to let that mom know just how much she means to you, while she’s still around to hear it. :)

Chaser on rickiheller.com for Mother's Day

“Mum, you know how much YOU mean to us, right? I mean, who else can I poke with my wet nose every morning? And who would throw the Frisbee for me? And who would give me endless handfuls of treats if you weren’t here. . . . GULP! Mum, you’re not planning on going anywhere any time soon, are you? ARE YOU?”

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Comments

  1. happy mothers day ricki – mothering comes in all sorts of forms and death is not something that can rip asunder the maternal bonds – I observe this because the cemetery is always busiest on mother day.

    • Never thought of it that way, Johanna, but yes, I think that’s true. Remembering one’s mom is a great way to observe Mother’s Day, too! :)

  2. Lovely words, Ricki. I agree…mothers can bless us in so many forms other than biological. Hold tight to the memories of your mom and continue being the wonderful “Mum” you are to your furry kids! :)

    • Aw, thanks, Hallie! I can’t even imagine the force of the love a mom has for kids, when I consider how much I love my furry counterparts!! Hope you and your mom have a great day. :) xo

  3. What a beautiful tribute to motherhood. Well said. :)

  4. jacquieb says:

    I very nice tribute to your mom. From your words it is very evident that a part of continues to live on in you and in the way you are present in the world including mothering your friends children and your own fur kids. Do you have any advice for someone who has been shunned/abandoned by her own mother? I have tried to open lines of communication again only to be shut out again. I miss her at times especially today. But one has to move on I guess.

    Happy Mothers day to your (from your fur kids)

    • Thank you for this, Jacquie. I’m so sorry to hear about the rift between you and your mom. While I was always close to my mother, I’ve certainly experienced that kind of rift with other people I’ve been close to over the years. I’m not sure I have any wise advice–and each situation is unique, in any case, so what worked/works for me might not for you–but the one thing I’ve tried to make peace with over the years is that I can’t change someone else or “make” them want to be in touch with me. I can leave the possibility open and hope that the other person, one day, accepts the invitation. But if they don’t, I have to accept that and continue to fashion my own life in a way that makes me happy, in a way that I can be comfortable with my behaviors and who I am. Sending loving thoughts your way and hoping your mum comes back into your life in a happy way some day!

      • jacquieb says:

        that was a perfect response and exactly what I needed to “hear” said. accepting that I need to let go and that I can’t “make it” happen is hard for me. I keep thinking if I say it the right way or make the right gesture it will work out but that is simply not the case. and one simply – not so simply though as it turns out – needs to live as fully and true oneself as one can. something I know but do need to hear time and again so thank you for that.

        • I’m glad it could be of help, Jacquie. And yes, it was a long, hard lesson for me, and I sometimes still struggle with it, but in the long run, it’s brought a lot more peace and happiness to my life! :)

  5. This was the most beautiful post! I just cried when I read it. I still have my mom, but lost my dad three years ago today. My mom is my best friend and now, more important to me than ever. I can’t imagine how it will feel to be without her and just the thought makes my heart break. I can’t imagine how you must feel, but thanks for reminding all of us who still have our precious moms how short life really is. Love your blog<3

    • Heather, thanks so much! I hope I wasn’t sounding melancholy–of course I miss her terribly and so often wish she were here, but the overwhelming sadness does, of course, dissipate with time. I do appreciate all the motherly figures in my life more, though. And how lovely to hear that you are so close with your mom. So sorry about your dad. Hold your mom close today and have a joyful celebration of her! :)

  6. Thank you for that heartfelt post, Ricki. I lost my dad to a car accident when I was four, so my mom and I are *extremely* close and my biggest fear is how I’m going to handle life when she’s no longer around. My partner just lost his mom last summer so this is his first Mother’s Day without her, and I’m trying to figure out how to celebrate my mom while being sensitive to the fact that he no longer can (in person). I think he’s in that “not wanting to acknowledge it” space, so I’m trying to respect that, even though I’m more inclined to talk about her all day, cry over cherished memories, etc. That’s not really his style.

    Anyway, mother’s day can be for everyone, all kinds of families. In fact, my partner did acknowledge mother’s day a bit when he “helped” my kitty write me a mother’s day card. ; )

    Lots of love!

    • Thanks so much, Raechel! It sounds like you’re navigating that tender territory with your partner just fine. I always cherish the cards I get from “The Girls” (with a little help from the HH, of course). :)

  7. Your friendship, wisdom, care and kindness help make me feel like I have “family” in Canada, so thank you, Ricki, and Happy Mother’s Day to you a hundred times.x

  8. Ricki,

    This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Your Girls are very, very luck to have such a wonderful Mum! And I think we can all agree that our animals most certainly become part of the family and we love them with a deep, honest, unconditional love…perhaps the same way these magical creatures feel about us. Pure!

    Eight months ago my brother had a baby and I tell you, I did fall in love with this child. There are so many way to love and connect with others that make their way in our lives through biology or happenstance. I feel it’s important to recognize the power of love and connection – how it shapes and molds who we are. We are surrounded by Mothers in so many diverse forms. It’s a day to celebrate the power of love and connection.

    Thank you for the Mother’s Day wish.

    Big hugs to you Ricki,
    –Amber

    • Thank you so much, Amber. I certainly think I’m lucky to have The Girls. :)

      And I know what you mean about the power of love and connection. I have a few friends with adopted children or step children, and they are loved absolutely no less than biological children would be.

      Hugs back at you! xo

  9. That was a touching post, Ricki. I agree with Amber, above: “We are surrounded by Mothers in so many diverse forms. It’s a day to celebrate the power of love and connection.” My son was born three months ago, and I feel a new energy and connection to the world as a mother. Your girls are lucky to have you!

    • Thank you, Amanda! So lovely to see your name pop up here again. And congratulations on the birth of your son! How wonderful for you! I know you will make a great mom. And when it comes to The Girls, honestly, I think I am the lucky one. :)

  10. This post is so poignant, Ricki. I am so blessed to have my mother with me still. My heart goes out to all who don’t, like you, my friend. I’ve thought about losing my mom and not being able to pick up the phone and call her with some exciting news or an interesting tidbit, or seeking our her counsel and sympathy for an injury, illness, etc. It’s just inconceivable, so I really feel for you and others, and don’t look forward to the day when I am without my mom.

    And yes, you are a mom, too. LOVE those girls and I know what a great mom you are, too, them! I also love your expression “mothers of the heart” and your sharing that you have experienced mothering and being mothered through friends. There indeed is much mothering in life that has nothing to do with biology … and that’s a very good thing!

    Love to you on Mother’s Day (well, a day late)! xo,
    Shirley

    • I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day yourself, Shirley! :) I have so many friends who are mothers to children they didn’t birth that I know just how powerful that love can be, biological or not. So yes, I agree, there are many types of mothers out there. I was lucky to have my mom as long as I did, but of course I do wish she were still here! Thanks for the love, and right back atcha. Can’t wait to finally meet IN PERSON!! :D xo

  11. Beautifully said, Ricki. Mother’s Day is the day to celebrate mother figures, too. I lost my father to cancer in 2007, so I had a similar reaction to yours, with regards to Father’s Day, for the first few years after his passing. I remember and appreciate, though, that I still (am lucky enough to) have my grandfathers (both!) to celebrate and my uncles. Additionally, the absence of my father also reminds me to hold my mum a little closer on Mother’s Day, too, because she took on much related to his role when her love passed away—and, for that reason, on Father’s Day, I celebrate my mum, too. :)

    • Christina, what a lovely idea to celebrate your mum on Father’s Day, too! And it’s great that you still have both your grandfathers. There is still so much to celebrate, isn’t there? :)

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