It’s that time of year when all across our nation, mothers are celebrated, honored and loved.
Except for those who aren’t…
For me, Mother’s Day is the most difficult holiday, for obvious reasons. The other holidays spent without my family are no fun either, but Mother’s Day is the toughest.
My son was always good about remembering me on all holidays, giving me flowers and a lovely card for Mother’s Day. However, each year since this estrangement began, I have progressively pared down any expectations of acknowledgement to almost nothing. If I get a brief text, that’s a lot. The trick is to not expect anything from him, and when nothing comes, to be okay.
During these years of estrangement, I have often let my son’s lack of attention invalidate me. But no one can invalidate me without my permission. When Mother’s Day comes around, and I am no longer celebrated for being someone’s mother, I must consciously throw away any negative beliefs I have about myself. No more guilt, no more mea culpas. I must care about myself, whether my son cares about me or not, otherwise, I’m allowing his behavior to define and disable me.
When I was a young mother, I lacked knowledge, confidence and foresight, but I did my best. The model for parenting in the 70’s was very different from what it is now. There was very little ‘hovering,’ and children were encouraged to be independent. I grew up in the 50’s with a rather loose parenting style, but I am happy that my parents weren’t constantly interacting with me. I am grateful for the freedom I had as a kid, and when I became a mother, I encouraged self-reliance in my son. Right or wrong, it was what I believed at the time.
Since I will not be able to connect with my son on this Mother’s Day, I will do what I do best: I will send him love. I will pray for him, for his family and for his life. No matter what, I am glad that I gave birth to him and had those years when I knew him and his beautiful spirit. I am so very grateful for his existence, his health and well-being. I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned because of him. He was once my little student, now he is my teacher. I will celebrate him and his own journey on this earth. I love him deeply and forever.
On this Mother’s Day, I will also celebrate who I am: a wiser woman, a dancer, a musician and, yes, a mother. I will laugh with friends, enjoy the spring seedlings and the greening of trees. I will appreciate the triumph of my spirit over the mess that estrangement brought into my life. I will stay in the moment and relish it.