Sunday, May 10, 2015

a mother's day reflection

Every year I have to make a choice.
Each year my choice is based on the biblical concept that I heard in a sermon once "act first and your heart will eventually follow". Each year I am rewarded and I evolve a little more.

Mother's day has historically not been my favorite holiday. It is a painful reminder of a person who is supposed to be honored who hurt me beyond belief and beyond repair and on top of that every time I chose my mother over my step mother in hopes of earning a normal relationship she brushed aside my efforts and gave me only rejection.
I flash back to one such mother's day, I had a visitation with my mom and at school I had worked really hard on a project, it wasn't much but I put everything into it thinking that if it was good enough she would take me into her arms and never forget to come get me for visitations and never forget to feed me and she would want me and be able to take care of me and love me and not make fun of me and never hurt me somehow I could accomplish all this by coloring a paper doily with all her favorite colors for her to remember how beautiful I could make her life.
So that mother's day came and I had some other project with me but most of all for some reason I wanted her to have this colorful doily that I had painstakingly worked on and colored each little lattice with a different color. It truly was beautiful and it happens to be the only mother's day I remember sharing with my bio mom. I kept my presents a secret and on Sunday morning I made her coffee just the way she liked it, black with 3 spoonfuls of sugar. I brought her the coffee and I brought her my presents saving my treasured doily until last. She put the coffee down absent mindedly and splashed a little bit on the table and then opened one of my presents and I don't remember was it was but she put it to the side. and she opened a candle that I had made at the mall with my Nana for this occasion and she said it was pretty. I presented her with my doily and she looked at it blankly. I explained how I used all her favorite colors and how long I worked on it and how she could put it somewhere special and think of me if she wanted to. She accepted all of it and gave me a hug and said thank you, my plan was working I thought! Then as quickly as I felt happy, it all crashed. My mom is mentally ill and she's capable of switching from happy to crazy in the blink of an eye but I didn't know or understand this when I was 9. So she switched and looked at me coldly and asked me if I had packed to go home and took my doily and crumpled it and used it to wipe up the coffee that had been splashed onto to the table. She was cold for the next hour until I went back home to Boise. I cried for days and wondered what I could have done differently. I know I must have had other mother's day with her but that is the only one I can remember. That relationship with my mom never did come together, she never did become that loving involved mom who didn't hurt me.
Fast forward...
My first Mother's day was a real struggle, I had terrible PPD and then to top it all off I realized that no one had ever had ever felt for me the way I felt for my baby from the same perspective. My mother had never loved like that. God really used that time to clean out those wounds and to begin to heal them. It wasn't fun but it was a good start,  As years passed I began to appreciate this day and really focus on the people who had been there for me. Becoming a mother drew me a lot closer to my step-mom and our relationship took on a whole new level which brought healing. I also was blessed to see an example of what honoring you mother looked like as I walked through this holiday with my husband and his mom. My relationship with my mother in law is great but it took a lot of work in those early days; again, mother's day began to heal some of that as I did the right thing and acted knowing eventually my heart would follow.
I have seen a lot of healing in Mother's day and have come to appreciate it as a day to honor women who have loved me as their own and been there for me.
2012- My Nana died. My world shook, even the thought of her makes me burst into tears and it's been almost 3 years since we lost her. She was the first woman who nurtured me, loved me, rocked me, saved me from unspeakable horrors, led me to the Lord, and was always on my side. So Mother's day has taken a bit of a backslide again.

Here I am; May 10, 2015 and I recite to myself all the verses that are hidden in my heart about the Lord being my heavenly parent and about God's love for me. Those verses even when I'm not feeling it are truth, and truth always conquers emotion.
SO... I make the choice to honor women who did not give birth to me but have loved me as along as they have been there for me. I make the choice to give myself permission to feel a little sad and then look at the living world and not get caught up in what I've lost. I make the choice to hug my children and remind myself that we can flip this holiday because I'm a mom and I'm not sucking at it. Each of my kids brought me treasures from school and I was delighted and very careful to show care with their gifts and show them outwardly how those gifts made me feel. I make the choice to trust that whoever I honor will accept my gifts of love as enough and know that they come from a place of love where I did my best on yet another tight budget.
I act first and then today or tomorrow my heart follows and I an overwhelmed with gratitude.  I have many women who have come along side me. I don't just have one mom, I have many and I can be thankful for all of them, even those who are not with me in this season of life. My husband honors me as a wife and as the mother of his children and those amazing children who love me and write the sweetest things that show me the fruit of all of my love.
This Mother's day if you are coming from a place of pain, maybe somehow you can find a grain of truth here and cling onto it. In the end truth conquers emotion and while it's great to feel and acknowledge emotion, it is a choice to find beauty and hope in the midst of that emotion.

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