Mother’s day is a bittersweet day for me. I often think of the “mothers” I’ve had throughout my life who have left this world, I think about the women who long to become a mother but cannot and I think about the rocky relationship with my own mother.
Last year, my daughter announced right before mother’s day, she was spending her birthday at the end of May in New York. I was heartbroken. It was her first birthday away from me. She was leaving me on her 22nd birthday! In retrospect, I was going through so much more than my daughter going away.
Whenever I am hurting, I find an outlet. Sometimes, it’s writing or a creative expression of when I am feeling. During this painful time, I created a slide show set to “Photograph” by Ed Sherran. I went through hundreds of photos of my children throughout the years. Through this project, I got to see that my youngest son was no longer so dependent on me and was ready to start school, my older son had grown into a strong but gentle young man and my daughter was a beautiful woman.
I saw that it was time for me to let go of my older children, especially my daughter. She was my first born, the first to call me mama, the first baby I carried and cried over. But here she was a strong, confident, independent woman…all that I raised her to be.
I also saw something else while I was working on the Photograph project, I began to see what a great mom I had become. I had made it-if one can ever make it as a mom, lol. When my daughter was born, I was a teenager living without hope…living for my next paycheck. As I went through the photos I saw the joy in my children’s faces. I saw their hope for a bright future. Mostly, I saw love. My children always knew that they were wanted and that they were loved.
I know that not all children grow up feeling wanted or even loved. Some grow up feeling like they are more of a burden than anything else. Sometimes, that pain is so deep that it’s hard to move on and even harder not to repeat the cycle. Turning off that inner voice that says “you’ll never make it.” Holding back the name calling because that’s all you know but you also know how much it hurt. Never laying a hand on your child because while words hurt; it is also confusing that the same hands that hit you want to comfort you.
Breaking the cycle is speaking life into your children, being their biggest cheerleader, admitting when you’ve made a mistake and apologizing, loving them when they go against your beliefs, holding them when it hurts, never ever speaking bad about them to anyone and always being the realest member of their team.
This mother’s day is different. I am excited to spend the day with my children. These beautiful souls that call me mom fill my life with unspeakable joy, they have healed me in ways that they will never know and I love that they will never know.