I always have mixed feelings on Mother’s Day each year although this year, to be honest, I’ve hardly thought about it.
As a child, I always tried to do something special for my Mother on that day. I don’t remember anything I did being well received though. There was something wrong with the card or the gift, or I handed it to her at the wrong time or did the wrong thing. Pretty much the same as any other day, really.
As a teenager and young adult, I often sat in church on Mother’s Day wondering why there was no acknowledgement of the many of us who didn’t have warm and tingly feelings about our mother. Not everyone’s mother bakes apple pie, or hugs them when they need comforting, or plans parties for them or praises them or…………well, you know! Somehow that was rarely ever talked about though. The idea of a mother being abusive, until very recently, was something no one wanted to contemplate or understand. Somehow, if you were or had been in that situation and talked about it, what was reflected back to you was that there was something really wrong with either the story you were telling or with you. Because, of course, everyone knew that mothers love their children.
In today’s world we know and even talk about the fact that not all mothers do a good job of mothering. Some do a terrible job and inflict a tremendous amount of damage on their child. Some of us have grown up and carried what often seems like a handicap with us throughout our life. Many of us have found healing and continue to find ways to heal our life. One such vision of healing I shared here over a year ago in a post called “The Flu & Inner Healing”. (If you click on the link it will open up to that post for you to read).
As a mother myself I have struggled at times to understand that the person I was and am every day impacts my children. I have had my moments of doubt, of anguish and even of wondering if I ever should have become a mother. As my children were growing up I felt that the greatest gift I could give them was the knowing that “no matter what, my mom loves me”. I felt that the knowledge of their mother’s love for them would be one of the bedrocks for them to build their own life upon.
Those of us who grow up without a mother’s love have many things to sort out and process as we go along. We have to learn that the fact that our mother did not love us does not mean that we are unlovable human beings. If we have children, we have to find examples, other than our own mother, of how to be a good mom. We have to find a way to ease the ache within our hearts that being told hateful things by our mother creates in us. We have so much healing to do that, at times, it can seem overwhelming. And throughout that healing process, many of us also have to find a way to relate to this mother who is present in our life and yet did and does nothing to nurture us.
And all of the above comes from thinking and processing over many years. Now, let me speak to you from my heart because, it is in the heart that we find wisdom and from the heart that healing happens.
Each of us is a precious human being. I know that I am, I know that each one of my children is and I know that my mother was. The greatest revelation of my life has been the acceptance that we are, each one, on our own journey. So that, although my mother’s behaviour had severe impact on me, especially as a child, it wasn’t so much about me as it was about her. I am who I am because of the choices I have made, sometimes knowingly, sometimes willfully, and many times as a response to the sheer necessity of surviving. I am not the woman I am today because of who my mother was. I am the woman I am today because of the healing I have sought to bring about and because of which fork in the road I chose to take. There is no going back, there is only movement forward and we each have to find our own path, our own way. As I learn to honour my own journey, I also am able to release others from any expectations I have of the part they should play or should have played. It does no good to ask “who would I be if I’d had a different start in life?” or to think “I wish my mother was like that”. I have my own path to walk and it is not yours and may not resemble yours in any way. Just as your path is for you and you alone to walk. I believe, with all my heart, that it is when we can honour our own path and honour each others’ path that we are able to free our self and every other from the bondage of “look what happened”.
Denying our journey, ranting against it, wishing it was other than it is, envying others for theirs – all these things lead to a sickness of the soul. Knowing, believing, actualizing that we, by our choices, have the power and the means to be the person we choose to be is the most freeing, the most healing approach I know. It ain’t easy but it sure is worthwhile.
It’s how I’ve come from being that sad, abandoned, beaten, abused child to the woman who walks in beauty.