Like my friend Emily who writes about her own poignant reasons here (go, read, I’ll wait), I won’t be posting a photo of my mother on Facebook this week, as so many of my friends have done in honor of Mother’s Day.
It’s a complicated holiday for me, as it always, ever was. If you don’t know the story of the women who shaped my early years, you can find some essential parts of it here.
As I watched the photos appear, I couldn’t help noting that some of the mothers whose photos my friends and family have posted are of women who were kind to me when I was a child. A favorite aunt, especially so. (To see her face, though she is gone now and I miss her deeply, is a sweet reminder of that.) So even though there’s an ache, an empty room, in my early years where a good enough mother should have been, it’s not altogether unpleasant to watch as others post their photos. A lovely gesture, where it’s deserved.
And there’s this: I’ve been lucky (so very), since my college years, to have someone in my life who has been a wonderful, loving mother and cheerleader to me. She makes up for that early lack, and I’m so grateful for her (and for her husband, who is another father to me).
But if I posted the face of the mother who gave birth to me, or the stepmother who followed soon after, a picture would be just a picture. A face smiling for the camera, a curtain across the stage. The play going on, unseen, behind it.
And a thousand words, not even close to enough.