Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

It’s Mother’s Day. I don’t have a mother, and I am not a mother.

I am obsessively checking my red and pink geraniums, blaming myself for buds that never fully bloomed. Did I plant them too early in the season? It’s been too cold at night and they love the heat. Did I not water them enough? Did I give them too much water?

I think about my friends who became mothers, some at an early age, others who waited until their 30s. I text them to say Happy Mother’s Day.

I think about friends who had miscarriages.

I think about married friends who chose not to become mothers.

I think about single friends with and without their mothers.

I walk to the grocery store and buy a bouquet of flowers. Will the cashier think I’m a mother, or buying them for a mother?

Is it strange that a bouquet of flowers reminds me of my father and not my mother? My father loved cutting the stems and arranging them. He always bought alstroemeria for his mother on Mother’s Day.

“They last forever,” he said.

My mother would plant red geraniums in two pots and place them on either side of the front stoop of our house.

“Water them until you see little pools of water in the dirt,” she said.

I remember helping my mother plant pansies in the backyard. It felt good to feel the cool dirt.

Weeks pass by and my geraniums are struggling.

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

It’s Father’s Day. I don’t have a father and haven’t made someone a father.

I listen to friends talk about visiting their fathers. Some friends have become fathers.

I think about people who wanted to be fathers but never had the chance.

I get a haircut by a woman who tells me she made brunch reservations for her husband and son. I hope she doesn’t ask me about my father.

If she asks, I will say he’s out of town. He is, sort of.

I don’t remember my father feeling the cool dirt, but maybe he did when I wasn’t paying attention.

I wish I had paid more attention.

The geraniums are still there. Amongst all the dirt is beauty.

When will they bloom?