This most likely happens to many third culture kids (TCKs) when holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rolls around.
I phoned a florist in Taiwan to make sure a basket of flowers (carnations for mothers day! of course) in her favorite color assortments are sent over on Saturday. Why a day before Sunday? Because that way, my gift is received and able to be appreciated by mom for the ENTIRE Mother’s Day! (And plus, my parents are usually at church from 8am – 3pm on Sundays…)
Anyhow, today at church service, many of the families and my friends were either gone, because they were out of town seeing their mothers, or they left right after service to go to a mother’s day brunch, or hitting the roads so they can make the commute to their mothers’ house for dinner.
My mother had already called yesterday around noon (Saturday late night in Taiwan time), excited about the flowers that arrived for her. Making sure that she’ll be taking some pictures and sending them over today. However, I still felt really lonely after seeing people going off to their mothers. It made me feel like as if I’m on the playground, and everyone’s mom has came to give them a hug after school to pick them up, and my mom is late, and no one is here to pick me up or give me a hug. And so, of course, the worst decision I could make: I started feeling sorry for myself and cried alone in my apartment for a bit.
I felt kinda like an orphan with no home. Of course that’s far from true and misusing the definition of the term “orphan”, as my parents are well and healthy in Taiwan. But I use that term in the sense that I had no mother I could surprise locally. (Yes, I sent those flowers, but I wasn’t able to see them, handpick them, hand deliver them, see my mom’s reaction, etc.) I see all these flocks of men and women, some eagerly, others just treating as if it were no big deal, as they trotted to see their mothers. How envious I am of them.
Of course there are people with mothers who are all over on the west coast or in the southern states and not here in Philadelphia or around the area. But they will probably see their parents soon, as many are students ready for summer, or working professionals that will be taking vacations or weekends at home. Domestic travel is so much easier than international travel.
Before, when I was still dating my ex, I would do something special for his mother, who was in North Jersey (very close). So other than sending my affection overseas, I had someone to shower my affection for here. Now? I have no “local” mother that I can love and appreciate. Sounds weird? I’ll bet you know what I mean.
For people who are completely alone in their cities (either for school or for work), mother’s day is quite the loneliest day of the year. (oh, there’s also Thanksgiving and Christmas, too). But everyone has a mother. And today is the reminder for those who have mother’s far away or mother’s that have passed and gone that they are the ones with no one to celebrate with today. Other than pictures, phone calls, memories, etc attempts to imitate, when we see the real thing (yes, those mother’s day brunches/lunches/dinner/gatherings), it makes us feel quite sad.
I realize, to some, this is a similar feeling that is experienced during Valentine’s Day.
Not having a lover makes you feel lonely and single. However, not having a mother makes you feel like a lost child and alone in this world. It means not having that person that still loves you and supports you and is proud of you even when you’re dumped, lose your job, go bankrupt, get divorced, have a miscarriage, or bed-ridden with sickness (from age 1 month ~ now?). It’s losing that comforting voice and that reassuring figure that stands by you even when the world turns their back on you. It’s someone that always saves you from your own messes and doesn’t keep tab as they charge interest. Not having a mother is much much worse than not having a lover.
A lover I can do without (many people don’t have lovers). But a mother? I could not have lived without one.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I sure really miss you a lot more today than my usual missing.
Thanks for being a best friend and an awesome mom!