Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NOT the Mama

Today is Mother's Day (you'll have to take my word for it, since this post won't actually go up today.) We are in Texas (hence why I'm not posting today - never publicize you are out of town, even if the house you live in isn't your own.) Today, the cutest, smartest baby in Dallas was baptized and Eric and I are the godparents. We kind of lucked out getting the cutest AND the smartest, huh? Tess, the aforementioned future star of the universe, is my sister Colleen and brother-in-law Matt's daughter.

I'm really honored to be Tess's godmother.

I'm also glad that I have something else to celebrate each Mother's Day. See, the pastor encouraged us to make an effort to be intentional about celebrating the anniversary of Tess's baptism each year. Options include calling her, coming to visit, and participating in a worship service remembering the baptism. Super awesome and meaningful, and I fully intend to make the best effort to do this.

It also helps that I really personally dislike Mother's Day and an excuse to focus on something else would be great. 

It is not that I have had a bad experience with mothers. On the contrary, I have an incredible mom. And an incredible dad. I wouldn't be the good parts of who I am without them (the rest... well, that's a whole bunch of neuroses that are just out of anyone's control...)

I like celebrating mothers.

But at 36 years old and childless by choice, I live with the consequences of my choices every day, and especially on Mother's Day.

See, on Mother's Day, American society elevates mothers and the act of procreation to something close to sainthood. I get it. My mom is awesome. My sister is turning into an awesome mom. 

But for the love of God, if someone at church, or a restaurant or for-goodness-sake Home DEPOT offers me another pink carnation for Mother's Day I may freaking scream.

Not all of us are mothers. I attended a church service not long ago and the pastor was trying to be inclusive. He talked about mothers, adoptive mothers (seriously? As if that is a different category than birth mothers? Raise a kid of any biology and I DARE you to make the difference), foster mothers, those soon-to-be-mothers, those longing-to-be-mothers, and "spiritual mothers." I apparently am supposed to fall into that last category. I gritted my teeth and got through the service.

Because you know what?

I'm not a mother. Of any ilk.

I'm ok with that, but Mother's Day is yet one more poignant occasion that reminds me that the rest of the world is NOT ok with my choices. This is evidenced by the rest of the world's insistence to try to lump me in with mothers.

I am an aunt. I am a cousin. I am an important-woman-in-the-life-of-others.

But I am not a mother.

I don't want to be a mother.

That fact hurts. 

It hurts that I have come to realize that I wasn't built to fit into society's norms. That I wasn't made to produce or raise a child. That I am FOREVER going to be just outside the circle of most women, most "families," because I somehow was absent the day they handed out the desire for motherhood. It kills me that my husband wants kids but ended up with me, some freak that missed the maternal boat and is adrift in non-reproduction.

I would much rather not be reminded of my second-class status with the pity-offering of something in pink from a stranger when they see me without tot-in-tow. 

I live with my choices every day of my life. I don't need to explain to that well-meaning stranger why I don't want the carnation, when they insist I have it. It got to the point where I avoided going to church on Mother's Day whenever I could.

Tess has brought me back to church this weekend. For her I will show up. For her I will be in the pew. I will focus on the meaning of the day as her baptism day and try my hardest to celebrate women raising children, as they deserve.

Just don't expect me to walk out with a flower. 

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