Dolly is without pedigree papers, so her date of birth is unknown. I’m told she was born on a farm in mid-May, so I designate Mother’s Day as her birthday. Today, she’s two years old.
Since I’m without mother or child, I take the birthday girl for a walk, hoping to generate enough serotonin to lift the funk of this motherless child. There are many middle-aged single women living on my lane, and I notice they all seem to be home alone. From that observation, I surmise that on this day designated to honor our earthly source of life, many mothers are not with their adult children. And many adult children are not with their mothers.
After I moved four hours away from my hometown, I seldom saw my mother on Mother’s Day. We postponed paying homage to motherhood each year to keep peace in our family. My father’s birthday followed by less than two weeks, so we’d celebrate both on the same day – his day. To have done the opposite would have been unthinkable…to him. So, my mother was one of those women without her children on Mother’s Day. She always assured me that a phone call would suffice until we gathered for his birthday. “It’s not that big a deal to me. Really.”
I now wonder if it might have been a bigger deal than she let on. Like most mothers, she was used to sacrificing. Now that my parents are gone, I wish we’d had two celebrations. But at the time, one was all I could handle due to the accompanying family drama.
In a bizarre way, this neighborhood scene – all these women alone on Mother’s Day – gives me comfort: Even if I’d had children, I might still be alone today. There are no guarantees of affiliation or proximity. But it also makes me want to shout out, to rent a billboard, to sound the warning: If you still have a mother on this earthly plane, spend as much time with her as you can. Because too soon, she’ll be gone forever.
(excerpt from Chapter XV of manuscript Healing with Dolly Lama: Finding God in Dog by Patricia A. Nugent)