Motherless Mother’s Day: “It’s a World of Laughter a World of Tears”

‘It’s a Small World,’ Disneyland, Paris

I’m not gonna’ lie.

The first ten days or so of May are an emotional roller coaster. It launches from the gate with the day my husband died alone. Then comes the first thrilling peak of my birthday followed by the plummet into the day Mike’s body was discovered, which, in a surprise twist, can also land on Mother’s Day. The fact that this is the first Mother’s Day I can’t hear my mom’s voice only makes the ride more jarring. I breathe a sigh of relief once the coaster slows after the first Sunday in May.

I can’t contemplate Mother’s Day without thinking of the man who helped make me a mom. These four amazing kids who shower me with love represent the very best parts of him: intelligent, bold, witty, full of random facts, tall (save one). If you want to create well-balanced kids, have babies with someone who posseses the logic and booksmarts you may not have. Combine it with your creativity and demonstrative love and see what happens. He was a Puddleglum and I a Pollyanna. It brewed kids who are equal parts wry and empathetic. I love that Mike’s sense of humor, the wit that could make me laugh like no other, has taken new life in these kids. I’m a lucky mom, for sure.

Motherhood is not an easy game to play. You often can’t tell if you’re winning, and sometimes you want to swipe the board to the floor. As a mom, you don’t storm off and slam the door. You pick up the pieces, roll the dice again and remember the reason you’re playing. It’s not about taking everything from everyone; it’s about the laughing and the consolations and the conversations with those beautiful people around you.

Until lockdown, I hadn’t played Monopoly in years. I was a sore loser, and my mother was a bad winner. There were cutthroat games full of rules I swear she made up. She liked to play her own way.

My mom never failed to call on my birthday. Early. Super. Early. No matter what time zone I was in. She wanted to be the first to wish me a happy birthday, even if she had to get up at midnight. It’s funny how something you think is annoying becomes something you miss. I can’t say she was the best mom, but I do know I was luckier than a lot of people in this world. At least she attempted to make up for bad decisions she had made. Some parents don’t even try.

It’s Mother’s Day. My park bracelet is showing signs of wear. The ride has come to a halt, and it’s time to follow the exit signs. I’ll pull out my map and locate the next attraction. I need a break from the sweat and adrenaline. Something calm, bright and cheerful. I’m headed towards “It’s a Small World.”

I hope to see you there.

It’s a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There’s so much that we share
That it’s time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all

Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman