Mother's Day is this weekend.

Miss Tess was kind of clingy when I dropped her off at day care this morning, and one of her teachers suggested she make me some art for Mother's Day.

I asked, is it this weekend? And he nodded, yes. I made a face.

I wonder how long I will have this love/hate relationship with the whole idea of Mother's Day. My original prejudice came from, surprise surprise, my own mother. She disdained Mother's Day, saying it was invented by florists, and after having spent six months in the TB hospital, also pretty much loathed breakfast in bed. But Kate and I used to get her silly five and dime jewelry, or make cards, or give her whatever the school art project of the week was.

Her death no longer agonizes me with the overwhelming rawness it once did. Now it is more like an old injury - bumping against it makes it ache. But it's like my oldest knee injury - probably the biggest emotional scar I carry, and sometimes it needs attention.

With the knee, it's fairly straighforward - when I do something physical, it gets inflamed, so I ice it. My old skiing buddies used to laugh when I stuffed snow down behind my knee pads, but it works. Stiff and achy? A little heat, and I also know the barametric pressure is dropping. (Everyone's joints are sensitive to pressure drops - mine are more so because of various hunks of metal - screws, staples, old jeep parts - still inside them. Ipso facto.)

But what about the emotional ache? It's much harder to ice a heart, as it were. I never know how to face a day I know is going to make me feel like all my emotions have been run through a grater. Tessie is a darling, and she usually does something wonderful for me on Mother's Day. Still, I find that generally what I want to do is hide under the covers all day: on Mother's Day (which was on May 14, 2000), on May 15, the day Helen died, and again on May 31. It's kind of like going to the dentist - I grit my teeth, know I will get through the day, but I don't have to LIKE it.

But still, there has to be a better way to face these days than grit your teeth or stay in bed. I've never been very good at setting time aside for being sad - what's the point? Sadness hits me at random times, and so why create extra time for it? I have several pagan and/or witchy friends who are all about rituals - full moon and new moon and Beltane and Samhain and what have you. Sometimes I enjoy this, and sometimes, when I'm not in the mood to talk about my emotions, it makes me rebellious, mouthy and bratty. Not my most becoming state.

So maybe this is a question. How do you all get through these types of days? I know I'm not the only one here who's lost a loved one, some quite a bit more recent than my own. But I still want to know. Are you the grit your teeth type, or do you find a way to mark this type of day? Thanks, in advance.

In the mean time, could you please pass the ice?