Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day tomorrow. Thus far I've managed to pretty successfully avoid most of the cultural reminders that go with it. For the first 5 years of freedom, I struggled with it because I was grieving the relationship I never had with my mother. Her emotional distance and choices that we both made over the years have left us with little relationship with her. It hurts. It hurts to see reminders everywhere of what I never had. I believe there could still be redemption and healing between us. I'm not certain that I would recognize that we were moving in that direction. Despite all of the anger work I've done, I still feel betrayed by my mom. She chose her husband over the emotional, spiritual, and psychological safety of her children. She supported his abuses, excused, justified, and minimized them any time that someone dared to question what was happening in the family. I can't say that I've forgiven my mom. I have compassion for her. 

Mother's Day also brings guilt about my relationship with my mom. As I hear the hearts of my momma friends towards their kids, both little and grown, I feel guilt that I don't honour my mom simply for being my mom. I'm sure that she has many of the feelings towards me that my friends do towards their children. She's not a monster, just broken, like me. I feel guilt that I am not in a place where I can honour what she was in my life without feeling as though I am betraying my own heart and truth. 

There too is grief for a dear friend who's daughter died. It's not my story to tell. My heart aches for this dear one who will visit her precious daughter's grave to celebrate her motherhood. My hurt for her empty arms ties right into my hurt that I don't have children of my own. I've chosen to not have children, at least for now. My healing must come first. I know that this choice is right. I need this time, this space to find a healthier me. I won't pass on the curse of generational abuse. 

It's easy for me to be cynical and angry about Mother's Day. It's easier to point out how exclusive much of the language and culture is around this day. How because I don't have children, there is an assumption that I can't know what selflessness really is. I haven't experienced what it is to love unconditionally and I will never understand God's heart for me as a Father until I hold my own baby. These are the pieces of the day that wreck me. That leave me feeling hopeless. There has to be a way to honour the beauty of motherhood without shaming those of us who walk a different path.

Maybe though the issue isn't with Mother's Day, but with the other 364 days out of the year when women feel overlooked and undervalued, no matter what choices they make. Instead of trying to fit a year's worth of encouragement, praise, and appreciation into one day, we can love one another, speaking words of life all year round. We need to learn how to champion and celebrate each other as women, instead of constantly competing, fighting one another for scraps of appreciation and attention. 

For those of you who will celebrate Mother's Day tomorrow, I hope that it is everything that your heart is hoping it will be. For my momma friends, you amaze me and I'm grateful that you are a part of my life. I'll be curled up with sushi, catching up on the third season of Continuum, and avoiding my Facebook news feed. 

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