This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. While I feel my life has moved on in so many ways since separating from my wife almost two years ago, I felt that as the mother of our son, I needed to call her and wish her a happy Mother’s Day. It was a strange feeling because I knew my wife and son would be getting together with my wife’s family to celebrate Mother’s Day. Even though I would not want to join my wife and her family, it felt, none the less, like I had been left out of something. I called her cell. Got her voice mail, and left her a message. She did not call back.
My wife’s family is a Hallmark family. Her parents, having run a Hallmark store for many years, never miss sending cards or celebrating a holiday. I had twenty years of Mother’s Day celebrations that, while repetitive and schmaltzy, felt like home to me. I did not expect to be invited by my wife to her family’s Mother’s Day celebration but also felt quietly sad that I could no longer be part of their celebrations.
I also feel in some ways that I am losing my son through my separation with my wife. While he clearly loves me, when he comes home from college he is staying at the house I own with my wife but no longer live in, but which I continue to pay for. My wife sees my son daily but my intense work schedule and other commitments make it difficult for me to spend a lot of time with him.
The other person I called for Mother’s Day was my mom. My parents were also married on Mother’s Day. So, I also called my mother to wish her happy Mother’s Day and happy anniversary. My sister was visiting my parents for the weekend and asked me why I wasn’t there on Mother’s Day. I had thought about going to Philadelphia to see my parents, but the thought of three hours of driving up and back on a Sunday left me tired just thinking about it. I could not bring myself to make the trip and felt I needed to rest and recharge after a very difficult work week. As my parent’s age, my father fell last week and cut his hand, it is difficult to watch from afar.
I can see why the holidays are so hard for many people. If you are not part of mainstream culture married with children then there are many events you never experience. Even though I have a son, I felt this year as someone outside looking in.