It was the Monday night before Thanksgiving this year that I found myself exhausted from the day, already in bed with an ache in my heart. I laid there thinking about something my counselor recently told me, “Over our lifetime we will have a thousand tiny funerals.” Her point to me was to learn how to grieve even the smallest of sorrows. So that night I did just that. I allowed myself to have a tiny funeral, to feel the grief of the moment, recognize that I couldn’t get the moment back, and tuck it away, even as trivial as the situation may be.

That Monday as I was rocking my then10-month-old to sleep (she goes to bed really early most nights), I started to get texts from my extended family. They were all gathered together celebrating my uncle’s birthday. The text included a picture of everyone celebrating at a Mexican restaurant. You could see their laughing faces and hear the jokes being shared, but the thing I saw were the memories everyone was making together all in my absence. It wasn’t on purpose; I wasn’t left out intentionally. In fact, my aunt had texted me earlier in the day asking if I could come but knew the time conflicted with our nightly routine.

I put my baby to bed, already feeling the sinking feeling of sadness coupled with the exhaustion of mom-ing all day. I took my shower, grabbed my phone, and crawled into bed. My girls go to a preschool that follows a traditional school calendar, so I had just survived day one of five of what I call “full on mom.” As I laid there, I started to feel the sadness. Oh, I would have loved to have had a margarita laughing with my family celebrating the joy of being together. I was desperately missing the comradery of adults and the freedom of responsibility. I felt overwhelmed by the neediness of my young children. I longed for some separation, some feeling of independence. I felt sad.

So, instead of letting that sadness turn into bitterness, or perpetuating into days of feeling bummed, days I knew I had to and wanted to be fully present for my girls, I practiced having a tiny funeral. I grieved the moment. I called it out. I cried. I named it what it was. I had SOMO- sadness of missing out. I realized that I desperately wanted to be there, I wanted to have that experience, not because the experience was any major thing, but because my heart longed for that type of interaction.

As someone who sometimes can struggle putting my feelings into words, I am so thankful for this experience because it added new words into my vocabulary. Words that could much more easily express the frustration of my sometime situations and I think situations many of us moms find ourselves in, especially during the holiday season. SOMO. The sadness of missing out, the small grief we feel when we can’t do but desperately want to.