Mother’s Day is on Sunday and since I will be on a tropical beach somewhere I wanted to wish all you mommies a very happy and peaceful day! My husband is treating me to a vacation sans children or husband and I am so excited about it. A few days of sun, sand, and quiet are just what the doctor ordered, though I will be sad that I won’t be celebrating the day with my family.
I love the idea behind Mother’s Day, that we take a day to appreciate the mothers in our lives, to be honored if we are mothers, and to celebrate the institution of motherhood as a whole. I love it even more now that I am a mother myself because the holiday can be a bit problematic for me. My mother is alive but is not present or welcome in my life. I know that sounds sad but 99% of the time this arrangement brings peace and happiness into my life. It’s only on days like Mother’s Day that I get a little twinge of sadness.
My mother housed me, fed me, and clothed me throughout my childhood but that’s pretty much it. I cannot recall a single, significant conversation that I have ever had with her. I can think of no lessons that she taught me. I have never caught a glimpse of her and felt a rush of love and affection for this woman. The only time I have heard her speak positively about me was to brag to other people about my accomplishments. I have only ever felt abused, neglected, and used by her and as a result I have had to cut her out of my life.
I don’t know whether to tell you if that decision was difficult or not. We’ve never had a communicative or friendly relationship so it was a relief to not have to send her banal messages about the weather once a month. I rarely thought of her before I cut her out so not much changed in that department. I guess the only difficulty in my decision was the finality of it: the accepting that this woman who birthed me will NEVER be the mother that I need or needed and that there is no changing of this fact. There will be no more chances, no more heartaches or tears over the disappointments. I had to give up on having the mother I always wanted, of getting the mother I would need as I grew older.
I suppose this is why Mother’s Day can be difficult for me. I see people post all these gushing and loving tributes to their mothers and it’s a reminder of the thing I never had and will never have. My experience with my mom made me scared to become a mother myself. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to love my children the way I loved my husband or that I would feel like they were burdens to me. My husband and I wanted children but I had this secret fear in my heart that I never shared with him and it haunted me for a long time.
Having my son was a healing experience. From his first kicks in my womb I felt my heart transform and I found that there were depths of love that I had never before experienced. It was freeing and healing to find that I was capable of this even after everything that I had been through.
Finding out I was pregnant with a girl was a little more traumatic. I had always had issues with relationships with women and there was this potent fear in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t be able to love this little girl or that I would do something that would destroy her as completely as I had been destroyed. The months leading up to her birth were filled with my secret anxieties but at her birth the Lord gifted me with healing and I felt again the surge of love in my heart that mothers throughout history have known so well.
Having children has been a soothing balm on the loss of my mother. I realize now that I was aching for this unconditional love that my parents should have shown me and holding those infants in my arms was the first time that I could begin to comprehend God’s love for me. Having never understood the love a parent can have for a child the idea that God loved me, flaws and all, was a concept that I understood intellectually but it was not a truth that I felt in my heart. It was only when I became a parent myself that I even had a hint of what the enormity of that truth meant. I will always be loved because God loves me. My children soothed the pain but the love of God is what has really healed me.
So this Mother’s Day I want you all to share the love you have for the women in your lives, your mothers, aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, and yourself. Send them a text, give them a call, send them down to the beach if you can (there are plenty of beach chairs here!). They all deserve it!
We are on the internet so I want to add a brief disclaimer because I’m sure someone somewhere will be offended. Please do not take this to say you shouldn’t post tributes to your mom or that I’m bitter and sad because I AM NOT. I am very happy, my kids are very happy, I actually like Mother’s Day yada yada yada… So don’t be offended. Be happy!