Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Every day is Mother's day

By Sharon Collins Apollo

This was the 12th Mother’s Day without my mom. The last time I shared Mother’s Day with her was in 1999, when she was dying of breast cancer, although at that time I thought she would get better. However, she passed away on August 8, 1999. So, Mother’s Day has been hard for me since then, although it has gotten a bit easier as time passes.

Sharon's mom, Gerrie
Sometimes the hardest part is the casual “Happy Mother’s Day” from someone I don’t know, such as a cashier at the grocery store. I know the person is just trying to be friendly, but why assume that every woman is a mom or has a mom? I fit neither of these categories. At least I don’t get as upset by this comment as I did several years ago.

The passage of time has allowed me to step back and find ways to remember and honor my mom – and myself.

One simple way I honor her memory is to enjoy her favorite coffeecake on Mother’s Day. It’s a frozen Sara Lee butter streusel coffeecake that only requires 90 seconds in the microwave. My mom didn’t enjoy spending much time in the kitchen and neither do I. On a side note, I sometimes felt she had to defend herself to women who insisted that everything be “homemade,” although I always enjoyed the “store-bought” cupcakes she brought to school for special occasions.

Another thing I did to honor her on Mother’s Day was to volunteer at my local humane society. My mom loved this organization and loved animals, especially cats. She was a volunteer there too, but didn’t get to see the beautiful new shelter that opened last year. She would have loved to be a “cat comforter” like I am. Spending time with the homeless cats for part of Mother’s Day was the perfect way to celebrate the memory of my mom.  Volunteering allows me to nurture the cats, much as my mom nurtured me.

I should mention that I am childfree by choice. So, I am not saddened by “Happy Mother’s Day” because I am not a mother. Rather, I am saddened because I don’t have a mother anymore.

Although my mom died when I was 38 (and she was 62), I know I am fortunate to have had her as long as I did. Even knowing that, I still wish she would have lived much longer. There are so many things about her that I miss. I miss shopping with her. I miss talking to her on the phone during “Oprah” or “Martha Stewart” (two of her favorite shows). I miss going to Chicago and to Florida with her.

Mostly I miss her support. She was always my best cheerleader. Since I have been feeling very lost lately as I’m about to turn 50, I could really use my mom’s cheers and guidance. Time has not taken that away. I miss her and always will – on Mother’s Day and every day…

Sharon Collins Apollo is a writer and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband and three cats.  

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