Sunday will be my fifth Mother’s Day since Jared died. And even though I am remarried, it is still a hard day. It is still a day I wish Jared could be here. A day I wish I wasn’t a widow.
The last year Jared was alive, he gave Steven money to take me to breakfast. He told Steven always take your mom to breakfast on Mother’s Day. Hold out her chair, pay the bill, and be respectful. And that is a tradition we have continued. The first year Jared died, Steven said to me I need $50 for Mother’s Day but you can’t ask any questions. The money wasn’t to buy me a gift, it was to take me to breakfast because his dad told him to do so.
When Jared was alive, he made a huge deal out of Mother’s Day. Pampering me all day. Making sure I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to. Often, he and Steven would bring me breakfast in bed. Then we would have Mother’s Day dinner with friends where husbands and children would wait on us mothers hand and foot, serve us dinner, and do all the dishes. The first year he died, my friends asked if I wanted to continue the tradition. And I said absolutely. So that year Steven helped cook for me, served me my dinner, and helped do the dishes. Even though his dad wasn’t there to help, he still wanted his mom to feel special. And that is a tradition we continue to this day.
Mother’s Day especially the first few years after Jared died, was a reminder that I was all alone. That I was parenting my child completely solo. That there was no one else to ask for advice. No one else to share responsibilities with. No one else. It fell squarely on my shoulders. Being a solo parent is often overwhelming. I have found I have less patience with my son because I am the only one. I can’t call his dad and say talk to him. I can’t say we’ll ask your dad when he gets home. I can’t ask Jared what he would do. Not to mention when my child is grieving and there is nothing I can do to ease his pain. When he looks at me with those sad eyes and says I wish my dad was here. Or he looks at me with such pain and says but you’re not my dad. And he’s right. I’ll never be able to ease his pain of losing dad so young. I’ll never even try to replace his dad. But I will love him with all my soul and I do my best. And that is all I can do.
Then there is the added guilt of being a working, solo mom. And sometimes having to choose my job over my child (like missing an event at school because I have clinic) because I have to support us. I am blessed that I have a good job that gives me a good income and I can take care of us. But it still sucks to tell your child no I can’t come because I have to work. And knowing that means no one’s going to be there for him because his dad lives in heaven. As his only parent whose new spouse lives 1,000 miles away, when I can’t make it, there’s no one to support him.
The hardest part for me is making decisions on things we didn’t discuss. Or worse, the things we did but given our new circumstances, the choices Jared and I made no longer seem appropriate. And then I feel as if I am going against my late husband’s wishes. But he is not here to discuss these things and I have to make decisions based on our current situation. I can only pray I am making the right ones.
Even though I am remarried, in many ways I am still a solo mom. My new husband lives 1000 miles away. We only see each other for a weekend once a month. So he is not here to help with the day to day life. But he will be here for Mother’s Day. He has already made plans with Steven to take him to get me a gift. Which is something huge. Until you’ve lost your spouse, you cannot understand how it feels to be the one to take your child to pick out your own gift. And just how much it means when someone else steps in and does it for you. He and our friend’s husband have planned our traditional Mother’s Day dinner. But most importantly, he understands that even though I love him, Mother’s Day is a difficult day. Even though I am grateful that he is in my life, I still miss Jared. And my new husband understands that. Understands that this time of year is difficult. And that as much as I enjoy celebrating the day with him, I will still wish Jared was here.
Despite all our losses and painful changes, one positive change has happened since Jared died. Steven and I are closer. It has strengthened our bond. When Jared was alive, Steven used to say “me and my dad.” I often wondered if he somehow knew his dad might die early because everything was about his dad. He never hesitates to tell me he loves me. He will share with me about his day and things going on at school. And he always looks out to make sure I am happy. He is a sweet, kind, compassionate young man and I think some of that is due to his suffering and pain.
So as I celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, I will be grateful for the greatest gift Jared ever gave me. I will count my blessings because I am Steven’s mom. Of course, I will miss Jared. I will wish he was here. But we will talk about him and probably remember something funny he did on a past Mother’s Day. We will remember him with love and laughter. And while I never wanted to be a solo parent, I am blessed to be Steven’s mom.
Happy Mother’s Day!! May every mom feel loved and appreciated.