A mom post tonight….
I know that there’s been a higher ratio of Mom:Lily post’s lately and I promise she’ll be back in the writers seat soon, but just one more for now.
This was our first mother’s day – our first, real, mother’s day. We had a few people celebrate with us last year, as we knew right around the holiday that Lily’s birth parents and Children’s Aid had picked us to be her family, but this was the first year that we got to wake up in the morning, look at her all wrapped up in her black and white blanket made by her cousin Connie, and celebrate being her mother. It was an amazing feeling. One that I’ve wanted for such a long time.(Lily didn’t really make this cookie, but our amazing friend Cathy did and it’s just one of the reasons we love her in our lives)
But this mother’s day, like many others past, is tinged with sadness. Obviously it was our first mother’s day without Jess’s mom and that was odd. Just this time last year, we had decided that for future years we would bring both of our Mom’s together for the day so that we never had to choose between them. Sadly, life chose for us. Life this year, just in the past few days, also decided that it was time for my Aunt Gail to leave us too. This has left a hole in me that I haven’t quite figured out how to fill.
I wish that I was a talented enough writer to really explain to you what it was like to grow up in our family. Many of you know that my mother is one of 17 siblings, which in today’s society, is a huge huge number to wrap your head around. But beyond the strength of my grandmother to raise such a huge family in less than ideal circumstances, what amazes me most about them is how close they are even with such a huge age difference between them. We were never the family that only saw each other on holidays, we were constantly in and out of each other’s lives. I always say that I was raised by The Aunts, the women who were either related by blood or marriage, who set the most amazing example of how to be great mom’s – there are characteristics of each of them that I hope to bring to my own version of motherhood. I love them all, but at the same time, what’s been breaking my heart is that Gail was mine. Now, with 16 Aunts and Uncles, it also means that I have a LOT of cousins, and so maybe calling her mine (especially when she had her own son) is a bit selfish but I always felt that it was true. It was her lap that I would crawl into when we were all sitting around the table talking – I would play with her rings and be amazed that her fingernails were so long and were real. I loved watching her style her hair or put on her make-up. I loved going to visit her at work and was so proud that she was my aunt. When my friend Adrienne and I went out to PEI to visit when we were in university, I was thrilled when she pointed out how alike Gail and I were – that we tapped our fingers and the table the same way, that we both had ridiculous laughs that usually ended in snorting or that we both tried to make people feel at ease by making jokes – usually lighthearted, somewhat inappropriate and often self-deprecating.
Like everything else in life, it’s with a loss that we realize how much we truly loved. Knowing that she’s not here leaves me feeling empty and not sure how to share that with anyone else. I know that so many other people are missing her as much I do, or even more, but for now it just feels like my own grief, one that’s not ready to be shared.