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At six, my daughter announced, “Daughter’s Day should be part of Mother’s Day.” The more I think about it, the more I agree. Mother’s Day seems like a perfect time to value all women. Mothers, daughters or both. Ladies with no children, gals with no moms and those who get separated from parents or children, for whatever reason. Imagine a day of celebration for all who dream of and all who deserve more appreciation.
There is no question that my own single-motherhood and fast-paced career felt more fierce than unforgettable at times. I was young. Finances, time constraints and daily struggles to be a good parent to a daughter I adored all conspired to overwhelm me at times. Sound familiar?
Recently I moved to Edmonton to be closer to my daughter, Tan, her husband, and my two treasured grandchildren. Shortly after I settled in, my daughter invited me to join them for lunch, and for a turn on the skating rink.
I’d assumed my daughter might glide gracefully around the rink just like I’d watched her glide through life. Tan’s grace alongside my sketchy skating skills reminded me of mothering clumsily at times. Mothering, like skating that day, came without instructions. I was afraid my feet would fail me. I was afraid I’d fall on my face.
The ice had just been resurfaced so it felt more like greased glass than the lumpy rough stuff I manoeuvred on a shallow lake near home as a kid in Halifax. But I grabbed my grit, sucked up any apprehension and was determined to run (or skate) the gamut. Just like motherhood, I planned to stay the course despite the story I’d heard from the only other grandmother in my circle, who warned me that she’d just broken her wrist skating with her 11-year-old grandson in that same Edmonton arena.
By the time I laced up my rented skates, both grandchildren were already on the ice displaying their finest moves. I panicked a bit as they whirled and twisted their ice-skating shapes around me. I felt unprepared for Frankie’s swan-like-swirls and surprised by Hendrik’s flypasts at breakneck-hockey-hero speed.
I was anything but graceful, and stepped to the rink’s edge much like we step toward motherhood’s uncertainties. Sure, I was freaked out by my inabilities, but I felt supported by a lifetime of love. I knew it wouldn’t matter that I wasn’t exactly a twirling figure skater or that I’d never won a mother-of-the-year award.
I clung to the rink’s orange boards much like a peel clings to a tangerine, and I circled the arena at tortoise-like speed trying to catch the same stride I fought for while mothering my incredible daughter. Before long I had to admit this somewhat clumsy ability to get from one place to the next was my stride, much like my sometimes lopsided steps and stumbles to raise my incredible daughter.
Eventually, I realized that not only did I enjoy skating with Tan, I felt comfortable trying something new alongside her. I felt relaxed enough to laugh at my amazingly awkward attempts to move two feet in any one direction at a time. Much like my attempts to parent well, my skating wobbles left me determined to try and try again, until my feet learned to at least move in a forward motion. Mother-daughter celebrations need special moments such as this, where love is enough, where laughter lingers, and where no broken bones occur.
Within society’s growing awareness of women’s worth, perhaps Mother’s Day could offer an ideal moment to celebrate more women in more diverse situations.
Why not celebrate the mothers who did their best – even when that best wasn’t enough to support their family well in tough times? It’s been suggested that my own mother failed her seven children, mostly because of her inability to be there for them while she tried to survive an abusive relationship and then died in her thirties. Motherhood may not have offered her its traditional pleasures and joys, but she was also a daughter of my amazing Nana. How could that love bond and gift have been celebrated more on Mother’s Day? Would the addition of Daughter’s Day within Mother’s Day help?
And what about the daughters who have lost their mothers, or mothers without daughters nearby? Mother-Daughter Day would give voice to the joy of being somebody’s daughter, even if caring relationships and bonds slip off tracks or if bumps on the ice come between them.
Love shared on a Mother-Daughter day celebrates that lifetime bond and lets us thank our daughters uniquely: to thank them for loving our grandchildren even more than we love them. (If that’s possible!)
Mother-Daughter Day would be a time when all females are reminded of their immense personal worth, just for being somebody’s daughter. It’s a bouquet that we would give with sincerity and communicate with thankfulness. This year, I plan to celebrate the day with my daughter and her family. You’ll find us picnicking and playing outside together as a way to celebrate daughters and mothers in our lives, as I hope you will also enjoy meaningful moments and memories in yours.
Ellen Weber lives in Edmonton.