It happens every year.  Flowers, candies, cards, pedicures and brunches, Mother’s Day is supposed to be a day when the matriarch in a family is pampered, spoiled and recognized for everything that she does for us every day.  It’s tough, therefore, for those of us who have lost a mother, are feuding with a mom or, maybe, never really had one to begin with.

Rather than solemnly dreading spending the day alone, here are some suggestions for honoring the occasion in a less-than-traditional way.

Remember the Good Times

If you have lost your mother, it can be especially difficult to deal with the feelings of loss on this day. Perhaps, one of the best things you can do is remember all of the things that made you love her (even those off-color stories!).  Go through old pictures, spend time with her friends and enjoy her favorite meal.  It will not replace having your mom with you but it might feel good to still devote an entire day to her legacy.

Reconnect With Your Mother

So many of us have gotten into a fight that had a lasting effect on a relationship.  Unfortunately, these disagreements can cause a breakdown in communication and, what started with a day of the silent treatment can suddenly become years of estrangement.  When so much time has passed, it can be very hard to be the one to extend the olive branch but you might regret it if you don’t even try.  You may not be able to patch things up but it’s also possible that things can get better.

Find Your Mother

Were you adopted but have always wondered who your real mother is?  This approach isn’t right for everyone and it doesn’t always lead to happy endings but, if you really feel like you need to know, why not use Mother’s Day as a good reason to begin the search for your birth mother?  Some adoption and birth records are sealed but others can be accessed through the right channels.  There are many services and resources available to help you if you choose to embark on this path.

Visit a Retirement Home

This might seem strange but the older women at senior residences would most likely appreciate a visit – even from a stranger!  For any variety of reasons they may not have many visitors.  Maybe they lost their children. Maybe an argument has kept them apart all of these years. Maybe their kids moved far away.  Regardless of the reason, it’s very likely that an aging woman in your area would love to see a smiling face and some fresh flowers.

No matter how you spend your day, remember that you do not have to let these special occasions define your happiness.  Pick an activity that will be uplifting and positive even if it has nothing to do with Mother’s Day. When all else fails, remember to be a mother to yourself.