Today I want to get personal about celebrating Mother’s Day, or more accurately not celebrating Mother’s Day. That’s me and my adorable mom- seriously, how much do you love those 1980s Sally Jesse Raphael glasses?

Mother’s Day is almost here and this time of year is always really tough for me. As some of you already know, I lost my mom suddenly in 1994, shortly after my 17th birthday. And let me tell you, it’s really, fucking hard to be motherless around Mother’s Day.

For the past two weeks, every single time I log in to an online shop, step into a store, turn on the TV or listen to the radio I am reminded that the incredible mom (she really was special) I had for 17 short years is no longer here and, I’ll be honest, it’s gut-wrenching. It makes me feel alone. It’s not fun being inundated every second of the day with reminders of the fact that, as much as I’d love to, I can’t do any of those things- send flowers, take her to breakfast, make her a card, sign up for a class with her…

I’m writing this post for three reasons, or rather to three groups of people:

To those of you who do not have your mother in your life: I know I’m not the only one who feels heartache on this day that so many celebrate and I want those of you who suffer with me to know that you are not alone. Maybe you also lost your mom like I did or maybe you’re estranged from her; perhaps you never knew her or maybe she suffers from Alzheimer’s. You might be a mother yourself who has lost a child, someone who was once a mother and is no longer. I see you and you are not alone. This is fucking hard. Your grief and pain are real and valid and I am here to tell you that it is 100% OK to close the curtains, crawl into bed, curl up in the fetal position and binge anything on Netflix all day Sunday. With one caveat- you have to promise me that we’ll all take a deep breath and return to the land of the living again come Monday.

To those of you who are mothers yourselves: This is the quick PSA. 🙂 BE IN MORE PHOTOS WITH YOUR KIDS. I find that many moms are the ones taking the photos or are waiting “to lose 10 pounds” because they think they’re too fat to be in pictures. Please do not deprive your children photos with you just because you feel a little uncomfortable. It’s selfish. Your kids will love and cherish those photos, especially once you’re gone. They will not care about how you look, but they will care if looking back on those pictures they can’t find any with you all together. Hire someone to take photos of your family all together or hand that iphone over to a friend. That photo above is the last professional photo I had with my mom. I think I was 8.

To those of you who are fortunate to still have your mothers around: I know a lot of amazing moms. Like, a lot. And I am so incredibly jealous of those who have mothers active in their lives. Mothers who are considered best friends, mothers who are now grandmothers to your own babies, who help care for your family and go on vacation with you. Moms who bake cookies for your volunteer organization and are always there at the touch of a button to ask the things we should know as adults but still don’t, the things I ask Alexa. I am writing this to remind you (even if you don’t think you need a reminder) to cherish them. I mean really, really think about all that they mean to you. Understand how incredibly fortunate you are to have someone who knows everything about your childhood. Someone who you can ask about your first words or your first crush or about that recipe for applesauce she made when you were a kid so that you can now make it for your kiddos. If you have questions, please ask her. Like, now. And if you don’t have any specific questions, just sit down with her and ask her to tell you about what you were like as a kid. Do not take her knowledge for granted; you’ll only know how much it’s worth once it’s gone.

In the Fall of 2015, I became what they call an “adult orphan” when my dad also passed suddenly. Being an only child with no parents, no matter how old you are, is really hard.  Imagine having no one to ask about your childhood. There are so many things I never asked, and now I’ll never know because the only other people who were there for so much of that time, are no longer here. I’ll chat more about my dad in my upcoming Father’s Day post.

So that’s my peace. Celebrate your mom if you still have her in your life. Give her one of those super long and tight hugs where she tries to pull away before you do. And then keep hugging tightly for a few more beats. Be in more photos with your kids. Be gentle and give yourself  permission to grieve in any way you need to if you’re having a difficult time. xx, Amy

Now that I’ve probably bummed everyone out a bit (sorry about that), I want to share a few of my favorite mamas photos from some of my past family sessions… enjoy and smile.