Scheduled Intimacy – Mother’s Day: The Good and The Not So Good

Afghan women celebrate mother's day at a guest...

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Self-Care Tip #256 – Think about the good and the not so good on scheduled memory-maker days like today.

Questions:  What do you think scheduled intimacy has to offer you?  How do you manage to allow the not so good to come together with the good in your life?  Please tell me your story.

Just like any scheduled memory-maker, Mother’s Day brings the good and not so good.  And for most of us, we have some of both, even if just a little.

Yesterday, in the company of my three healthy children, I couldn’t help but notice the lady I sat beside was sniffling.  “Should I say something?  Should I not say something?

…Almost six years ago, my nine year-old niece suddenly died.  One week later I delivered my second child.

I don’t remember most of my daughter’s first year of life except a couple random things.  My sister-in-law, sitting alone on a rock just staring.  I remember her clothes, the weather during that moment, the texture of the rock, but I don’t remember nursing my baby.  I think this was still in the first month when I saw my sister-in-law on the rock.

We buried my niece’s ashes under a Jacaranda tree and it took forever for that tree to bloom.  I watched its skeleton month after month thinking, “This is terrible!  It needs to bloom!”  Isn’t that ridiculous?  And I remember my brother, red-eyed.  The lines on his face cut in deep.  He said,

I’m so glad you’re having this baby Sana.  It’s just what we need.  You remind us, this baby is reminding us that we are still alive.

The good and the not so good.

Of course I sensed what my brother was saying, but I still had a moment of hypervigilance when my body seemed to say, “What?!”

There was a lot of insecurity and emotional confusion that year but I don’t remember much more.  I believe my daughter  breast-fed, learned to sleep through the night, transitioned to solid foods and took her first steps.  But I don’t remember.

Namibie, une femme Himba et son enfant

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Yesterday, I turned to the lady and asked,

Are you sad?  Is there something you are sad about?

More water-works.

I used to have a son.  I had a son.  He died.

The good and the not so good.

Right on schedule.  Mother’s Day came.  We knew it was going to happen.  And yet our bodies crack open, poorly defended.  Little our calendars did for our emotional preparation.

The lady grabbed my hands in further intimacy than I anticipated.  She told me her name but I wasn’t listening.  I was thinking about my niece, her sometimes blooming tree, my children around me; so much.  I was thinking about the good and the not so good on scheduled memory-maker days like today.

There is a coming together of our parceled selves that have been scattered to the east and to the west by the winds.  There is a coming together that this Mothers-Day, Christmas, Valentine’s or my nieces birthday, have on us and the process itself is bruising.  It is an opportunity to gather what we will or won’t.  It is an opportunity to be present with our changing selves.  In the tears, in my daughter’s crooked rainbow pictures and backwards letters,

bear mommy, i love yu….

In the grip of a stranger’s hands, in the company of our own Mom’s, wherever we find ourselves on these blue-lettered calendar days is where we have this

Hope all you moms had fun today!

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opportunity to do some of the sometimes hard work to grow presence.   Without it, we will continue to change.  That can’t be stopped.  But with it, with our choice-making, with accepting the gift of our folding up of the space between our past and our present, if we hadn’t cried again for our loss, if we hadn’t we might not have remembered what has made us and who we are.  Changed.  Covered by Love.  Connected.  Doing what a friend would do for Me.

Tonight my daughter sits on my lap.  We are watching a blue-ray recording of Les Miserables (musical) Twenty-Fifth Anniversary touring production at the London’s Barbican Centre.  I am listening to an excellent tale of the good and the not so good in life.

To God, our Mother, today was scheduled and I thank you.

27 thoughts on “Scheduled Intimacy – Mother’s Day: The Good and The Not So Good

  1. Sana, thank you for your story and for linking my blog. Sometimes I think it is easier for online telling of stories of memory. there are so many walking wounded out there among us, sometimes we look normal and fit in but inside we know we have been changed by something hurt us or someone we love. I hope someone reads it and understands that they are not alone.


    • thank u marilyn. i’m always left in wondering when people we ping don’t connect like u just did, so promptly and so warmly. what a treat to hear your resonating voice. feeling alone is the worst of suffering. we talk and do what we can to help ourselves and help others to know, as u said, none of us r left without a friend. keep on.

  2. The jacaranda tree is one of our favorites…. I will think of your family, of your niece, of the good and not good, the next time I see one blooming. Hugs to you, my deep feeling and compassionate friend.

  3. How lovely of you to turn to that woman. Too often sadness is shunned like the old-fashioned view of leprosy.

  4. What a beautiful and caring thing you did in raching out to that woman and letting her voice her pain. You are gracious and appreciated. This is a lovely post.

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  6. God bless you, Sana…you and your brother and sister-in-law. Your strength is awe-inspiring. Your post was beautiful. I pray that your future Mother’s Days will get progressively more joyful as you are blessed by the blossoming of your own children, and that the nine years with your niece will bring will eventually bring happy memories that will soften the eternal pain of her death and your loss. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad with us. It helps us, always, to balance ours.

  7. One thing I love about this blog is that there are so many comments, people sharing their story as you ask.
    Thank you for the opportunity to share and remember who we are. Thank you for the love you extended to that lady who was sad. This is what motherhood is, extending love. And then you shared it with us. How worth treasuring.
    My mother died almost two years ago and we always gave her picnics and planned an occasion for her almost forgetting we were mothers ourselves. It was a quiet day for me. I am glad my sons remembered to call me. I have forwarded this post to my sisters. To share it with them. I miss scheduled intimacy. It is an occasion to love.

  8. Sana, I love this post! Yesterday, my hubby cooked for me and some of our church family. I was not happy because I felt he had not been thoughtful of me and I felt the event was centered around his adopted mother-in-law…her food that she liked, and I was a guest. I was recognized and thanked by my hubby, given a beautiful card, a wonderful meal, but I left feeling as the woman of the house, not thought of….hmmmm, i struggled because I asked was I being selfish and unthankful, or was I getting in touch with my true feelings…

    Regardless of all of these negative emotions, I am currently pregnant and your statement resounded to me….that I AM STILL ALIVE…WE ARE STILL ALIVE AS A COUPLE. No matter what has happened, God is still alive, and he has given us a new life that I am nurturing, and I must focus on that.

    Will I tell my hubby how I feel? Probably not…he’s never prepared a meal like this before and it was quite well done, if I do say so myself (SMILE). So the good thoughts is what my baby needs….I AM STILL ALIVE!

    • i hear the conflicting emotions. so goes our work in getting friendly w ourselves. u taking care of your own emotions like this, owning them and not giving responsibility for how u feel over to anyone else is really much more friendly to u than otherwise. rock it pregnant lady! 😉

  9. Mother’s Day is not so great for me. When I was 15 I gave birth to a Beautiful baby boy, “David”. About a year later my Father took him away from me, then, since he and my StepMother were older, he gave David to my Sister to raise, after he had promised me I could have him back. Well a few months later David started to call my Sister “Mommy”. She and my Father said it was so he wouldn’t be confused. He knows that I am his “Birth Mom”. Anyway, there I sit EVERY Mother’s Day watching everyone else get cards and presents, pretending that it doesn’t bother me. It was the same this year, only my Sister bought her stepdaughter and her daughter-in-law (who is due with her 1st child), Mother’s day presents. Of course, they made me come in from having a cig. to watch. But of course, good ole Michelle smiled and said how nice. I hate Mother’s Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michelle,
      I would guess that if you spoke to a lawyer and/or someone from DHS, you could get your son back. He is YOUR son. I don’t know your age now but at the very least, you could insist that David be told the whole story and that his “mom” is his aunt and that you are his mother. At some point he may wonder why you didn’t try harder to get him back. Of course I don’t know all the facts here. But I don’t see how your father can legally take your son. Are you in a position to care for him? Is he in school? Good luck, it sounds like a horrible position to be in.
      Good luck.

      • Thank-you for the info Marilyn Jean, but it’s too late now, he’s over 21. He knows most of what happened, but doesn’t want to talk about it to learn all of it. He’s in his 30’s and just this year he found out that what his Grandfather told him about me wanting an abortion wasn’t true. He found out that it was his Grandfather that wanted me to have one. After he found that out he treated me alot better.

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