Earlier in the week, I selfishly dictated to my family that I didn’t want any recognition of Mother’s Day. It was an expression of pain that I wasn’t able to keep to myself and I am deeply ashamed and remorseful for it. Especially since my sweet girl has such profound feelings around mommies and such a deep, strange need to have every occasion memorialized. As far as I have come, I still falter. And the miracle of motherhood is that my children love me anyway…
I am so very thankful to have the gift of motherhood biologically, adoptively and temporarily through foster care. I am so very thankful for the endless absolution of children’s hearts for their broken parents. I never knew joy like my daughter’s smile when she opens her eyes in the morning or “that look” on my son’s face when he is overjoyed himself. Husbeau and I have worked hours upon hours upon hours finding patience we didn’t know we were capable of and love we never saw modeled for us to help our children each overcome or work through such heavy and overwhelming challenges for such small people.
That experience has made me struggle to understand my own parents actions. For some of us, becoming a parent and being on the front line gives us perspective and compassion for our own parents. But for some of us, the perspective isn’t a good thing. (I have written about this more here) I know that my parents have their own challenges and issues–knowledge I have used to forgive them for the things that created my PTSD diagnosis and longer term developmental trauma issues. As I pick through years of therapy that show me that I have normalized some profoundly damaging and traumatic experiences, it is very hard to see my childhood as simply “parented by people who had their own problems”.
I have so much to be proud of, but nothing more than the parent I have been able to be to them given my history–that I could be a parent they would seek comfort from and allow me to calm their fears, knowing that I would love them through it rather than shame them for it. Or blame them for it. When I look back at my own family and how they were the ones putting me in the position of being hurt, upset, overwhelmed or fearful and then shaming or quieting me firmly with it–when that was the model, I am grateful to have overcome it. My children receive more affection and human touch in a single day than I saw in an entire lifetime with my own parents. The snuggles, the smiles, the tears, the hugs despite our own challenges and hard times.
And I could never be more grateful to be alive and well to share my days with them–and to have the time to be home with them. There was a time when I never wanted to be a mother because I didn’t think I knew how and I was afraid of what I would or wouldn’t be to them–what damage I would do. My brother lost his life to that battle and pain. I was fortunate to have gotten help to overcome as much of my history as possible. For the rest, my children have shown me the way; and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the journey.
I realize that many mamas come from just the regular level of dysfunction or maybe even came from happy homes with the typical troubles of life. I am happy for ALL of us. I am sending you ALL love, comfort, compassion and a wish that you are able to take pause in the mayhem to just observe the love that exists in your life. I’m sure I will miss a few here. Forgive me. You are loved and acknowledged in my heart even if the words to describe you are not coming. I see you, with your eternal bond to a small human…
* Mothers who don’t have mothers, or who have lost their mothers
* Mothers who truly ENJOY most moments with their kids
* Mothers who desperately WANT to enjoy most moments with their kids but have some kind of blockage in their life that keeps them from doing that
* Mothers that get snuggle time every day
* Mothers who can’t be with their kids–especially mamas in the armed forces
* Mothers we have lost as part of the childbirth experience (yes–this happens more than you realize)
* Mothers-in-waiting… the ones dealing with infertility
* Mothers of angel babies
* Mothers who laugh more than they yell or cry and the mothers that want to laugh more than they yell or cry
* Mothers who have physical or mental disabilities
* Mothers who inherently “get” and “know” attachment practices and the mothers trying their best to learn them
* Mothers who are trying to do things differently–especially those without a support network
* Mothers that share their beds with small people… and sometimes get peed on
* Mothers who feel lonely as they try to advocate and help their kids who might be struggling
* Mothers who are single
* Mothers who model healthy boundaries for their children (both genders benefit )
* Mothers who are in a dangerous life situation
* Mothers who are men serving both parenting roles (yes, this actually happens)
* Birthmothers, foster mothers, guardianship mothers, adoptive mothers, step-mothers… and all of the things they must feel on Mother’s Day
More than anything else, today I say a prayer for my daughter’s birthmother–because every once in a while she will ask if her birthmother is safe and I ache for being unable to give her an answer.
But I pray that she is. Especially on Mother’s Day.