Mother’s Day. My cat paws me awake at 7:23AM. She didn’t buy me flowers.
I call my mother, who’s shuttling my father’s mother to church. I open Facebook and find it inundated with pictures of mothers, memorials for mothers, and sentimental notes to mothers — my own included. I walk into the kitchen and I make myself banana-oat pancakes. I, am mother to nothing.
It appears that everyone, especially my peer group, has begun to populate the Earth at an alarming rate. They all wax poetic on the joys and challenges of parenthood. — Yet another club for which I am currently ineligible. It’s middle school all over again, except this time the popular girls have even bigger tits and haute-couture vomit-shammies.
The thought alone makes me want to get drunk.
For a moment, I panic. — What does it mean if I never become a mother?
I imagine myself alone in a dusty room filled with piles of hoarded vegan cookbooks, old mail, and unswept cat litter. My hair is silver. And the most color I’ve seen in years in the purple rhododendron that’s blooming outside my living room window. I think to myself — I don’t want to die alone.
Sometimes, it feels like that’s the only reason I feel drawn to motherhood at all. I can’t be alone at the end of days. But, as I sit on the couch sopping up the last of the maple syrup with my final bite of pancake, I realize, mother or not, I might end up alone anyway.
In the best of relationships — I’ve always felt alone. There is always an immeasurable space that remains vacant, lost, unfulfilled. It’s why I drank. It’s why I still want to drink. It’s why yesterday, as I walked home from work in the warmth and the sun, I slowed at the entrance of every bar I passed and made an excellent argument for just. one. drink.
Fill it up. Allow yourself. Imbibe on this — motherhood. Uisce Beatha.
Life is about filling spaces. I’m not sure what it is, but, there must be something that can fill us all. Maybe it is drinks. Maybe it’s motherhood. Maybe it’s a kind of love I just don’t know yet. Or, maybe, it’s waking up at 7:23AM to set out salmon treats for the one creature that has tolerated my various states of existence for as long as I’ve known her.
When I give the cat one treat too many, she vomits on the floor. I wipe it up with paper towels. — I have no fancy shammies.
She looks up at me, guilty, with her big, sad eyes before moving to the couch where she continues her ongoing project — pulling foam from the armrest.
“Please,” I say, “don’t do that.” With that, she pulls her needle-sharp claw from the shredded red fabric and glares up at me with disdain before sauntering, nonchalantly, back to her post in the bedroom.
In the end, for better — for worse, we are all mothers to something.
[Image taken from I Am Lil’ Bub]