Anticipating Mother’s Day

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I didn’t dread mother’s day as a child, it was always my birthday that brought up feelings of confusion and frustration around abandonment and adoption. But once I became a mother, myself, I realized my uncomfortable relationship with the archetype of motherhood.

And yet, I love being a mother. Rather, I love being a mother to Potamus (most times, like when he’s not hitting me, or only eating chocolate chips). Motherhood has awakened a nurturing part of me that has let me settle into a part of who I am that I didn’t know I could even feel, let alone express. I dare to be more myself because I am a mother. I must be as authentic as I can, to set a good example for the little one I’m responsible for raising to adulthood.

But I feel motherless, in so many ways. I feel like I am discovering this part of myself and it’s unrelated to the experiences, or non-experiences, I had with my own mother(s). Even the act of buying a Mother’s Day card fills me with angst, because no Hallmark writer could ever express the feelings I have about my relationship with my adoptive mother. Hallmark could never write the complicated feelings I have toward and about my biological mother. And this year, my mother-in-law sent an email saying she definitely didn’t want anything for Mother’s Day, and so, clearly that relationship feels complicated too.

If I were stronger I might embrace the toddler years and say fuck it all, and make everyone focus on me as a mother. Me Me Me, and just let everything else just fall away.

In case Mother’s Day was hard for you…

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Boof gets it. He let me have a quiet introspective (post-5k) Mother’s Day by myself before dinner at his parent’s house. I had been grumpy for a few days, and it wasn’t until we got home Mother’s Day evening that he said, “well, and I bet it’s harder for you, that today isn’t just a happy day. I wanted to tell my mom that, so she could understand.”

Because, Mother’s Day, as an adoptee, is hard. I said to him, “yeah, it’s hard…I have two moms and no moms at the same time.”

His response was, “yeah, that is hard. And I had hoped that the fact that you’re being a really good mom to Potamus would make up for it, but it doesn’t, does it?”

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to the outside world, when I say that Mother’s Day is hard for me…but I came across this blog post that summed up my feelings well:

In Case Mother’s Day is Hard for You

Let’s be real. Mother’s Day can completely blow sometimes.

You want to be cheerful. You want to be with the program. But some years there are all these little points of pain that will not go away.

The baby you never had. The one you gave up. The kid you lost to something bigger than you. The child that slipped away before you ever held her. The one that was never born. The one you worry you’re failing. The one that failed you.

The mother who’s so close and yet so far. The one you loved so much who couldn’t love you back. The one you could never love because it hurt too much. The one you lost too soon. The one who is slipping away. The one you can never please. The one you wish you could live up to.

There are no cards to honor these children or these mothers. There are no holidays to contain all the parts of you that fall outside the lines of generally understood sorrow or celebration.

But there is this moment, this incredible moment, where you can feel it all. Where for once you can’t stuff it down or forget it. Where you have to be with it, because it is not going away.

And here, my friends, is where something important happens. This is where we connect, where we understand we are frail, where we are human. Where we see in new ways what life means. Where we are issued a compelling and persistent invitation to mother ourselves. To cut ourselves the breaks we didn’t get. To ask for the help we always needed. To let tears come and say, This is how it is. I’ll ask in this one tiny moment, for the courage I need to let everything just be.

No matter what your point of pain or challenge today, I want you to know that you are not the only one. Somewhere over a silly Mother’s Day breakfast, there is a woman faking a smile who feels just like you do. Somewhere in a very silent house with no one to call, there is a woman who is tending the ache of her loss, just like you. Somewhere standing in a shower there is a woman who is feeling it all and letting the tears come, just like you.

As you go about this day, know that over here, Ria and I have candles lit for all these unspoken things, and that we are holding the space and thinking of you. You — the faraway, soulful you — will be in our meditation and in our warmest thoughts. We are sending you light and love and the deep wish that you would know today of all days, nothing is wasted and we are together in ways we cannot always see but are just as true. That the night can never last. That even in our darkest moments, there will be someday, the surprise of a laugh, a comfort, a dawn.

With so much love, hope and light, Jen

 

I’m thankful for such a wonderful partner who let me feel crappy and grumpy and tired yesterday and didn’t make me explain myself…he just knew…and I’m always surprised when he pulls out that level of intuition and empathy for something that I can’t even verbalize half the time.