I was born on Mother’s Day more than six decades ago. I’m the mother of three and the grandmother of five, so in my family, this holiday is marked by many joyous celebrations. Each day I’m reminded to count my blessings.
It’s easy to think of May as a month to honor mothers; however, there are those who were born to moms who did not want them, those they were estranged from, or mothers who’ve passed away. For these individuals, Mother’s Day can be a time of sadness and regret.
Many Ways to Celebrate
Regardless, there is still cause for celebration. It can be a time to celebrate your mother for having given you life, which is a gift… and worthy of your gratitude.
Another way to celebrate this month is to spend some time mothering yourself by fostering a deeper connection with your inner child (and adult). You can do so by journaling, attending to your personal care – such as getting your nails and hair done, going to a spa (if that’s feasible for you), or just taking long walks in nature.
It could also mean spending more time engaging in activities you love and spending time with people who make you feel good about yourself – perhaps some of the female role models in your life.
Not a Mother at Heart
Although my mother did her best, given her personal circumstances, the truth is, she didn’t want to be a parent. My father was a Holocaust survivor, and because he’d lost so much of his family, he wanted to have at least one child, and that was me.
Because my mom wasn’t the stay-at-home type, after I was born she went to work as a ticket agent at the former Pan American Airlines. Through this job, she received free flights, which suited her just fine. I was left in the care of my maternal grandmother, who adored me. I gave her a reason for living.
My grandmother, Regina Reinharz, was orphaned at the age of eleven during the cholera pandemic in the early 20th century. Because we spent so much time together, I was deeply influenced by her before she took her life when I was 10 years old.
She was my inspiration for becoming a writer, beginning with teaching me to type on her Remington typewriter, and writing my first poem and short story.
My first memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal, was inspired by our close relationship. For decades I’ve had a black-and-white photo of my grandmother on my desk. She continues to inspire me even though she died in 1964.
Passing It On
Now that I’m a grandmother, my hope is that my influence on my grandchildren will also leave an indelible mark. There’s something very unique about the love between grandparent and grandchild, as it is precious and completely unconditional.
So whether you’re a mother yourself, or just someone who was mothered, think about taking time this month to honor yourself, your ancestors, and moms all over the world. Visit dianaraab.com.
How do you honor yourself as a mother and grandmother? Can you say your mother was your role model? What lessons did you learn from her? Was/Is your relationship easy and loving? Please share with the community.
–Originally Published in Sixty and Me, May 15, 2021