This Sunday, on The Day That Shall Not Be Named, will be the first time when both my husband and I are motherless. Whilst I am conscious he may have some emotions about that (though I've asked him, and he says he doesn't!), I also feel a degree of freedom. We also don’t celebrate the day in any form – not as a rebellion, or in an effort to reclaim it. I know some people do it successfully, but I have no wish to do so. It wouldn’t work for me. So perhaps for the first time, the day has no meaning for me.
Instead of baking a cake and visiting the in-laws, or just hibernating away from the world, this year I feel a liberation. The day now means nothing to me. I’ve seen ads (commercials) for it everywhere. A jeweller even tried to encourage people to buy gifts for “work mums” which has provoked a lot of conversation, and made me cringe. Even though I’ve played that role myself, I prefer to be called a “mentor” which is more respectful, and less sexist. After all, have you ever heard anyone talk about a “work dad.” Shudder! It gives out very creepy vibes. Anyway, I digress.
As I’ve said before about various holidays, it is only one day. Though I’ve actually disproved that myself here, where I’ve noted that if you have international friends, it lasts two days, and then throw in the UK’s day in March, and so we have three days to tolerate! And then there’s the day after when people brag about what their children did for them, so add on another day. Okay, so it is potentially four days!
But what I mean by this is that it passes, and we all forget about it. If we can stay away from social media on the day and the day after, then it can pass largely without notice. And by the Tuesday afterwards, everyone has forgotten it even happened.
So often, it is the anticipation that is hardest. I know that feeling of dread – worrying about how I will cope with the day, or what people will say to me – that this day can invoke. What I also know now though is that, after all these years, that feeling of dread fades. And I hope that gives those of you who are struggling some comfort.
It has power if we give it power. Sure, in the first few years it is hard not to succumb to the power of the day. But as time passes, it is easier to stand up straight and say, “nope, I’m not giving this day power over me.” It is easier to make our own plans to either avoid difficult situations, or to treat ourselves before or afterwards. It is easier to dismiss it as irrelevant to our lives. The guilt for not caring goes too. And you know what rushes in? A sense of relief, and freedom.
So I hope you have a freedom-filled weekend. I know I for one will be focused on other things. Packing, for one. But I will be thinking of you all too. And wrapping you up in a big hug, full of love.