This year, I noticed a lot of hurt during Mother’s Day. I know that holidays can spark any burdens and hurt for any kind of relationship. Valentine’s Day can be hard for people that are single. Christmas are hard for those who are involved in broken families. Memorial Day is hard for those who have lost their brothers and sisters in arms from the service. Holidays were created to acknowledge certain people or events to celebrate them in happiness, but they can often trigger upsets.
It started with a young woman who I am growing to know. She is bold, spunky and energetic. She loves to laugh and make others laugh, but she hides a pain within. She has opened up about her drug and alcohol recovery. She has been sober for over a year now, which a fantastic achievement! However, her true recovery is trying to regain a relationship with her two children that were taken away from her due to her drug abuse. Some people may look at her as some wash up who chose substances over her children, but I see the pain she couldn’t escape from. I see the pain in her eyes as she talks about the physical abuse she endured from her past. She was brutally beaten for over an hour by her boyfriend which caused her to give labor to her daughter at 6 months pregnant. As a woman who knows abuse, I can relate to how it can break you down. It is an evil sense of lose, you are never the same afterwards. However, I can see her, like really see her. I know that she only wants a second chance at life and especially for her children. I can see that she is striving to better herself. She wants to prove herself to become better than her past and move forward to the future. Fortunately, she is just starting the process of setting up visitation arrangements with her children. Small steps is only for the protection of the children in which she knows, but it is difficult when I can see her just trying to redeem herself and she is constantly still being punished from her past habits. This woman is beautiful inside and out, and I pray that she reaches where she needs to be for herself and for her children. I thought about how difficult Mother’s Day must have been for her. Only thing I can do is hope in her behalf for next year that it will be different, and imagine that she will be bouncing around with her two beautiful children at the park. Unfortunately, this year she spent it knowing her children are celebrating Mother’s Day with their stepmoms instead.
As I celebrate my Mother’s Day with my son, I am also missing a child. So, I put on my mermaid tear necklace that I bought in memory of my miscarriage. It made me realize that I am not the only mother that would be going through this day with a baby in heaven. I know several women who have opened up to me about their miscarriages, and the hurt it entails. I think about those mothers who have suffered this year alone that have also lost their children to tragic deaths. Just like Todd Heap in the loss of his three year old daughter this year. These are the kind of holidays that re-open that wound, regardless of how much time have passed.
Then, there are the women who struggle with the position that they can’t have children. I’ve met a few women this year and heard their pain behind their words, knowing that their bodies can’t have children for medical reasons. Nothing worse than a doctor telling you that you can’t have children – the thing your body is made for.
Then, there is my best friend, who had to celebrate her Mother’s Day with someone else missing. She had to spend her day as a single mom. It was a gorgeous day, and we brought our children together at the park. Her daughter laughing all the way down the slide. Then, she wanted to be pushed on the swing. I took part in pushing as her mother sat on a swing next to us. I could see it in her eyes. It was beautiful that I cared enough to push her giggling daughter on the swing, but I was not her father. This was not her complete family. She remembered Mother’s day of last year, and how they were all together. This year, she felt alone. Not having the other half to share the moments together. “I remember what family felt like”, she said. I know how she was feeling. The first round of holidays with the family split up is the hardest. Holidays are never really easier after that, only the wounds are just not as fresh. I don’t remember what it was like to wake up to the father walking in with breakfast in bed with my son following behind. “Happy Mother’s Day, mommy”, he would say, “Look what Ty did for you”. It might have happened, but I don’t remember it. It’s also a possibility that I erased it from my mind, because that time wasn’t filled with many happy moments. I might of just gotten a card that said, “Happy Mother’s Day, from Daddy and Ty”. However, I just don’t remember. Family is such a distant memory for me.
For some people, memories of their mothers are not distant. Many people have shared the pain about the loss of their mothers, and how this holiday makes them feel that pain so freshly. One friend of mine lost his mother many years ago, but this day breaks him down as if he just lost her. He shared lovely pictures of her from her wedding day and shared how she taught him French. He talked about how she molded him into the man that he is today. I could feel his pain behind the photos he shared and the words he spoke. As the years pass and I watch others older than me lose their parents, I place myself in the hurt of losing my own parents. As I grow older, so do my parents. I couldn’t imagine carrying that pain of losing them.
Losing parents doesn’t have to be through them passing. I’ve seen a couple people opened up about the hurt that these holidays cause when their relationship with their mothers are nonexistent. One person I know shared that he hasn’t spoken to his mother in 5 years, since she chose a man over him. He doesn’t know her whereabouts, and he is too bitter to know. I also have a friend who has a mother that only comes around to ask for drug money. They don’t have any kind of relationship at all, except for her asking him for things. She has taken more than she has ever given to him, and still he lets her take. Deep inside he’s still that little boy that wants his mother to be a mother and recognize her mistakes. It is a horrible cycle. Some parents just don’t know how to be parents, and no matter how old the child is, they still desire their love and acceptance.
It makes me think about the relationship with my own mother. As a child, she was my best friend. My dad and I played a lot together, but my mother was emotionally more there for me. She nurtured me and talked to me. She was the one who taught me how to become a writer. She homeschooled me and my brothers. Unfortunately as we grew older and as my parent’s marriage faded, it turned her away from her children. It created a six year gap of not speaking to each other. Our relationship picked back up years later with forgiveness and understanding. It still doesn’t erase that I was a little girl in high school spending Mother’s Day trying to look for woman figures to turn to. I even gave my guidance counselor a necklace, because I was trying so hard to earn even a glimpse of motherly love that I had missed and desired so badly. No matter how much we turn to each other currently and love each other, the relationships between my parents and I will forever be filled with those memories of our distances. I just wish that it had never happened. Our distances may have made our relationships better, but it still leaves us with unanswered questions and those missing memories.
Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate mothers, but who would think that it actually creates so much heartache for so many people. I just want to send my love to those who are hurting from these holidays and especially this past Mother’s Day. I ask for them to change their perspective instead. For those who lost their mothers, reflect on those happy moments and hold onto them. They are still with you and on these holidays, you should be able to feel their presence even more so. Smile to the sky, talk to them or eat at their favorite restaurant. Dedicate this day to their memory, but don’t forget to laugh and smile in the process. For those who struggle with the relationship with their mothers, celebrate the good mothers doing what they’re supposed to do for their children and fuel your heart knowing that good mothers are possible. Use this day to find forgiveness in your heart, not necessarily for them, but for yourself. Being mad at them doesn’t hurt them, it only hurts you. For those who have lost children, celebrate the memory you have. Sit in nature and wait for their presence. Reflect on the memories that you do have, and give them a smile. Know that they are watching. I wear my necklace whenever I’m going somewhere special, celebrating anything and holidays. I wore mine on Mother’s day and held it tight when I thought of my angel. I want to wear it everyday, but I fear of losing it or breaking it. I need to handle it delicately and with the best of care.
Mother’s Day is not a commercial, it’s a day to reflect on your position as a mother and be grateful that you are the mother that you are. It is a day to reflect and appreciate the mother in your life as well. It is a day for children to simply say “Thank you” to their mothers. Perspective can change the way we look at it, when really it is like any other day. See it and treat it as if it is and thank those who deserve it and be done with it. Media and retail emphasis it more than what it’s supposed to be, which can emphasis the hurt it causes others as well. So, I pray for the peace and happiness it should be giving.