Mother’s Day

I worked for a few hours today, before my family had woken up to start their day. There was a kind, elderly farmer’s wife who we picked up off the floor. Another call brought us to the humble house of a gentleman experiencing some difficulty breathing. Later, a young couple flagged down our ambulance to ask for directions to a local breakfast place. And in some way, I was able to get all of these people to at least crack a smile. I returned to my house feeling at peace with the knowledge that I did a little something to improve the days of these total strangers.

But when I got home, that element of my day wound up causing some confusion and frustration in my little heart.

Today is Mother’s Day. Everyone in the country knows that. Regardless how you view the commercialism of the day, it’s supposed to be about honoring your mother and expressing your love and gratitude for all that she is and does. But, what none of you know, is that today is also almost exactly 6 months since my maternal grandmother passed away.

I made a card, like I do every year. I put a ton of thought into the perfect gift for my mother. And I fully expected to spend the day doting on her, and showing her all sorts of affection and gratitude…the kind that she deserves every day. The kind that I am inexplicably and inexcusably hesitant to show her every day.

Yet, when I came home from my shift, and met her in the kitchen with a hug and a kiss and a “Happy Mother’s Day!”, it all seemed…flat. It’s her first mother’s day without her mom. And, obviously, she’s going to be sad. What frustrated me was that I didn’t know what to do. The little trinket I was so excited and proud to give her didn’t make her feel better. The extra housework that I did (that she always does without complaining) didn’t seem to help. The hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s” that aren’t given out nearly enough…well, that didn’t seem to do much either; except maybe make her quiet sorrow a little more visible for a brief, fleeting second. She carried on the way she tends to: strong, with barely a hint that something was wrong. You had to know her to see it.

I can make any stranger smile. Whether it’s a tough old bird who slipped, a scared man who can’t pull enough air into his lungs, or a lost couple, I can figure something out. They can present me with anything on a whole spectrum of problems, and I can usually find a way to make them feel a little bit better, even if it’s only for a minute. And yet, I can’t seem to do that for my own mother today. I tried, but didn’t know how, to make mother’s day happy.

Grandma, we miss you. And Mom? I do love you, even if I’m not the most open about showing it.

And to all, happy mother’s day.

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