Sunday, May 8, 2016

On a Hard Day

Today was a hard day.

Mother's Day is hard not because of my mother or my mother-in-law. They are both fun, strong, sweet women and I'm lucky to have them.

No, what makes today hard for me personally is the celebration of the status quo.

Today is a day that applauds normalcy. Mother's Day is a day for women whose lives have followed the intended path, whether they meant to or not. They have mothers and become mothers. Life didn't have to find a way, the way was paved for many of them.

I ask for empathy for those of us who do not follow norms. Who ache for biology to be on our side but who have been betrayed by our own bodies. I ask for empathy for the women whose lives fit the norm but who didn't want it that way. I ask for empathy for the women who have complicated relationships with their mothers or who have lost their mothers.

I feel it is important at this point to state truth: empathy is not the same as giving advice. Don't try to fix it. Sit with me. Grieve with me.

Mother's Day evokes joy and deep sorrow. Even today as I sat in my mother's house and then in my mother-in-law's, I couldn't say the words. I couldn't say "Happy Mother's Day" because even as I thought to say them, my own unfulfilled wishes swam into my eyes and threatened to blur my vision and make those wonderful women feel like I couldn't sit with them and celebrate them.

We need a more inclusive day. A day that recognizes the wide variety of women—mothers and childless, white women and women of color, old and young. International Women's Day was two months ago today, but it isn't observed widely.

I hope for a future that recognizes and celebrates women for all their accomplishments, not necessarily their biology. For what makes them different instead of what makes them the same. I hope for recognition of the sacrifices women make aside from those made for children. More than anything, I hope for easier Mother's Days.