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Hug your Mom. Now.

A faithful watcher of CBS's Sunday Morning, Nancy Giles hit the nail on the head this morning when she was talking about Mother's Day and her perception of the holiday each year.
She talked about how Mother's Day is a holiday that glorifies all things motherish -- with beautiful imagery of mothers and their children. Glowing, beautiful, blissful. Everywhere, everyone is celebrating the day and it's joyful. But when you've lost your mother, it's just not the same kind of day. It's a little more somber, a bit less gleaming and you kind of just wish it was over.
I lost my Mom to breast cancer eight years ago in May within days of Mother's Day. Not a Mother's Day, holiday or really any day goes by that I don't think about her -- what if she was still here? What would she say? What would she do? On this show this morning, Giles said something to the effect, "You adjust to life without your Mom, but you never get over it. You just learn to cope." Mother's Day, unfortunately, highlights that sense of loss for me on an annual basis.
I've tried to make the day about me, but it's like a shirt that doesn't quite fit. Yesterday at the Farmers Market, several friends wished me a Happy Mothers Day weekend. I nodded and returned the salutation, but it still sounds foreign to be considered a mother in the sense of the holiday -- like it's more meant for the Mom I had, not that I am.
My Mom was incredible. I knew it growing up and it is only amplified now that she's gone. Creative, funny, sparkling -- that was my Mom. When I think of her in my mind, she's smiling brightly. I no longer thing about the way cancer and chemotherapy ravaged her body and tried to steal her dignity. I've replaced the most horrible nightmarish memories with happier times, with warm memories of childhood and all she did for me. It's unfortunate that with maturity comes the kind of adoration that's more golden and reverent for one's mom -- the kind of adoration this holiday is built on -- and I no longer have a living Mom to adore. I wish I had her to call, to rest my head on her shoulder and share my stories with. I wish she were here for lunches, celebrations, the births of the four grandchildren she never met. I wish she'd gotten to enjoy the latter, more comfortable years of life she worked so hard for, but was deprived of. I wish my Dad still had his best friend. I wish my brother had his confidant. I wish my sister had a mother to call when her kids are sick, when she doesn't know the answers or when she wants to share what funny, adorable people she's raising. All around, it just sucks not having your mother -- particularly when your mother was the center of your family.
There's one thing that stands out to me: if you have a mother alive and breathing, hug her today and every day. Eventually, you may not be able to and that sense of missing is like a vast hole in your being. Periodically, I read about or hear about people having disagreements, spats, arguments, fights -- whatever you want to call it -- with their mothers. She may be bossy, intrusive, overbearing, distant, mediocre, the greatest ever or a big loser, but she's what you've got. She's it. And if it comes to love her or leave her, love her -- even if you feel like she doesn't love you back. Even if she did nothing more than bring you into this world -- she did that, and it was no party!
Extend the olive branch when you need to. Listen to her even if you don't want to hear her. Adore her for who she is, not what you expect her to be. And don't just cherish her on Mother's Day, but everyday.

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