I hate it when my husband says, “You’re just like your mother.” Mostly because I have worked my whole life to be the absolute opposite of my mother and he knows it. He just wants to push my buttons, and there is nothing that pushes them more than that comment.
Mother’s Day is strange for me. That is the only word I can think of to describe it. On a day that calls for everyone to step up to the plate of appreciation for mothers and all they’ve done for us, I can be found in the dugout anxiously waiting for the next inning.
I don’t celebrate my mother on Mother’s Day. I have some very special women in my life who have mentored me and been along side me throughout the years. When it comes to my real mother, she checked out a long time ago….
When I was a kid, I experienced some physical abuse from my father. I wrote about his form of punishment in this post. Years later when it came up in therapy, my counselor and I had to wonder: “What was my mother doing during this time?” But when I brought my mother into counseling to work with me on my issues, she acted as though she had no idea what I was talking about. She was in complete denial that any of the corporal punishment I received was inappropriate. And if it had been inappropriate, she excused herself from any responsibility by telling me if I needed her I would have called out for help.
“In the words of Tracy Strauss, who experienced a similar childhood, ‘This was how she survived. This was how we became estranged.'”
Unlike Tracy’s story, my mother has yet to apologize for not protecting me. I do forgive her, but she is unable to emotionally face her role in the painful events of my past and so we remain estranged. On Mother’s Day, I will send her an edible arrangement to acknowledge she is my birth mother but there will be no words. There is no celebration. There is no relationship. But there is forgiveness….
“For me, forgiveness was a decision to stop suffering, to put down a burden that didn’t serve me. When I faced and accepted the truth of the past, only then could I see that I’d survived the horror. Only then could I feel my uncensored anger and disappointment and sorrow, and my mother’s toxic denial and terror.”
I want to encourage those without mothers, or those who have suffered at the hands of what should have been a loving, caring, nurturing mother, to celebrate the women in your life who are good mothers. Or simply celebrate yourself for taking the time to become the emotionally healthy mother you wish you’d always had.