When Mother’s Day is Hard

Ann H Gabhart Heart of Hollyhill

May 5, 1965

Jocie Brooke reporting from Hollyhill, Kentucky.

I found this poem in a church magazine at Miss Sally’s house. She says it’s a really sweet poem. She never had any babies of her own to rock, but she says she was blessed with many babies to hold at church. She said most mothers are glad to have somebody take over the rocking now and again and that this poem is true because it made her love every one of those babies when she held them and rocked them to sleep.

I don’t think my mother ever rocked me to sleep. I asked Dad once if she did and he didn’t want to answer me. You see, my mother never really wanted to be my mother. Daddy was always the one who took care of me even before Mama ran away from us. Daddy always said it was because she didn’t like living in Hollyhill but I figure it was to get away from me and Dad too. 

I’m not mad about it or even very sad about it anymore. I’m used to it. But that doesn’t make Mother’s Day much fun for me. Everybody else at church and school are making cards for their mothers about how much they love them and how much their mothers have done for them. I never know what to do. You can’t really make your dad a Mother’s Day card and Aunt Love would faint dead away if I got all sugary sweet with her. Aunt Love and I have an interesting relationship, but I wouldn’t call it any kind of relationship that calls for a Mother’s Day card. And I can’t make Leigh a card even if she wants to be my stepmother. She’s more like another sister. You know, like Tabitha. 

Maybe I could make Tabitha a card for Stephen to give her. She’s a good mama. And then, there’s Miss Sally. I could make her a card too. Not a Mother’s Day one, but a “you’re a great friend” card. Or an “almost like a grandmother” card. I did have a sweet grandmother, Mama Mae, but she died when I was nine. I could make a card for her and just keep it in my memory book. That way I wouldn’t feel so weird when everybody else is making cards for Mother’s Day. But it would still be weird. 

I feel weird on Mother’s Day but I just sort of smile and act like it doesn’t bother me that everybody else has a mother who cooks dinner and makes them brush their teeth or whatever mothers do. 

If you know somebody who doesn’t have a good mother, it might be nice to give them an extra hug this week. Don’t heap a bunch of pity on them. Just a hug will show you understand that even though most people have great mothers, not everybody does. I didn’t. But I do have the best father in the world and that make everything all right.