Mother's day last year was the hardest day of my life.
In most cases, giving birth on mother's day to your first baby would be cool. You could celebrate becoming a mother. We celebrate mother's day to honor that day, and every day that a mom spends parenting her baby.
But it didn't work like that for me. Mother's day will forever be the day that I met my baby, who never met me. The day I didn't hear him cry. The day I didn't get to feed him. That was the day I spent looking at his perfect, still face and wishing my life could be different.
And now the whole world celebrates. Kids make pictures of flowers out of handprints. Breakfast in bed. Brunch. Everyone takes this day to celebrate. TV. The internet. Stores. It's mother's day everywhere. Elliot will grow up to make me cards. Do projects at school. He won't understand that the picture he drew for me, and the breakfast he helped make and the flowers are all for a day that marks the hardest day of my life.
I also have something to celebrate now. Having Elliot here, literally in my arms as I write this brings me joy. And I'm glad to have a day to celebrate him. Two years ago on mother's day I was just someone child. Last year I was a grieving mother. This year it's more complicated. I never knew joy and grief could coexist so seamlessly, or that I could feel both with the intensity that I do.
So I will focus on the joy. I'm going to celebrate the one day I had to hold Oliver. The 31 weeks that he existed. The fact that I got to feel him kick. The way that he changed my life. Made me a mother. This mother's day I'm going to celebrate having both of my sons. This mother's day I'm going to celebrate the two beautiful boys I gave birth to, even though only one of them is alive. I plan to celebrate the tiny hands pulling my hair and the tiny hands that never got to feel my touch. The tiny eyes that look up at my face and the tiny eyes I never got to look at. Because I am a mother to both of them.