I have no doubt there are mothers who totally fit the description of the Mother’s Day Mother…but mine was not one of them. I take nothing away from the strength and depth of love she did have. But her heart was broken…no, shattered at a very young age, and everything in her life seemed to reinforce and re-inflict the awful conclusion she drew about herself, her worth or lack of worth as a human being, from that moment.
This affected not only her, but her children.
Every relationship has conflict. There are challenges, rough times in any long-term or significant relationship, but healthy dynamics exist in healthy relationships to make understanding and resolution possible. Some relationships don’t have that. Sometimes our relationship with our parents is just pain piled upon pain or the level of toxicity is such that good memories cannot withstand it.
For many of us, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day can seem to mock us with what we never had or had too little of.
But it’s not all black or white. I had an ambivalent relationship with my mother. And I loved her. And I know she loved me. We were not always able to show each other how much. There were clearly unhealthy dynamics, role reversals, inappropriate demands and resentment.
But through it, through the pain, there was love. And we had our moments and I have memories that I cherish.
The mother I want to honor is the real one.
If you are someone for whom Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of what you never had or knew, or you can say some of those ideal things about your mom, but also have memories of a darker side, be gentle with yourself today.
Mothers represent caring and nurturing. If you did not receive that from your mother, let yourself receive it from another source. Let Life give to you. Say yes to it. No, it’s not the same. There will always be a sense of loss, a touch of sadness and grieving, but know that you are loved. You loved yourself, despite whatever pain or self-contempt you may have felt, you loved yourself enough to survive. And in surviving you have given yourself the opportunity to love and be loved by others. And that is a good thing.
Keep your heart open. As much as we idealize mothers, and as important as they truly are, they are one person. A person with an incredible amount of power, but one person. And you are one person. Beautiful. Strong.
On this Mother’s Day I honor you, the one whose heart cringes just a bit as you read all these wonderful tributes to mothers worldwide. You’re not alone.
I encourage you to cherish whatever good you can find in your mother, in your relationship with her. And if you can find nothing, because tragically, it was never there, I wish for you to give to yourself the thing that one person could not — unconditional love.
Because you deserve that. Do you hear me? You truly deserve that.
So Happy Mother’s Day to you and to the dreams you have and to the person you are. Because if you can’t think of a single good thing your mother has done, I can. She gave birth to you. <3