how motherhood healed my hurt...
for such a significant time in my life mothers day felt like the worst. my mom died when I was young and the story surrounding her death was pretty much the opposite of anything you could imagine. my mom was an alcoholic. I want to say, when she was a good mom, I think she was good. at least that is what I told myself growing up and for many years after her death. until recently I hadn’t taken the time to fully understand the grips of addiction and how they can have an effect on us as humans. when I finally took the time to fully understand how mikah’s brain developed and the meaning behind her feelings and behaviors is when I finally realized - my mom didn’t have a choice. it was just her story.
but. and there is a huge but… before I came to this realization I was angry.
angry at myself for not being able to meet her needs
angry at my dad for letting her treat our family this way
angry at my brothers for not being the ones taking care of her
angry at the man behind the counter at the liquor store who enabled her habit
angry at her for choosing this bottle over me
but I never in a million years thought it would be the thing that would take her away from me at the age of 12. you see the never ending hope of living with an alcoholic is the pipe dream that they will get better. when I would take care of her growing up I would keep telling myself that someday she would be free from this and I would understand what a mom really was supposed to do. that mom’s weren’t supposed to chant parts of my favorite book as her mantra as I struggled to help her up after her most recent spill. (it was “I think I can..I think I can..” from the ‘little engine that could’)
I just knew it. someday she would get better. I would have a mom. one that wouldn’t drive me drunk to my girl scout meetings or sewing lessons. then one day. it happened. she died. her body had taken the years of abuse from the booze and had finally given in. it was time for her to rest.
as I sat at her bedside as a minister gave her last rites - I remember screaming internally at her:
“I’m adopted, this is what you wanted, I wasn’t and couldn’t have been an accident… you ASKED for me, why was this not good enough?”.
the next day she passed and I remember being sad, but not overly sad. I felt a wave of relief that I was no longer needing to take care of her! isn’t that crazy? I didn’t need to mark hidden bottles of gin that scattered our house so I could determine exactly how drunk she was at any given point of the day.
I was free.
for years I carried that anger around with me. it manifested itself in so many different forms but I just added it to my backpack of emotions. I pushed away so many women who tried to help step in and take care of me. looking back it’s crazy how much love I rejected from so many amazing people. my heart just wansn’t wanting that from someone else. you know why? I didn’t feel like I experienced it with my own mom - so why would anyone else love me?
ding, ding…fucking DING. at a young age I was already developing self-worth issues. amazing, right? (I always thought I was an overachiever at something!) we all do this, right? somehow we’ve perfected the art of carrying around the backpack of emotion and shoving whatever we don’t want (or can’t) deal with in the moment. sometimes it can get so damn heavy it feels like we are carting around rocks while climbing a mountain. but there is hope in that feeling. there is always a way to start dropping that weight… and for me, that time came with becoming a mother.
when I had michael it took me a long time to tap into the motherhood part of my brain. something there was missing and looking back it feels like it was because I don’t remember feeling like I had that roll filled within my life… it just didn’t make sense to me! but - per usual my amazing dad stepped in and helped me find my way. now, at age 36 I think I am finally getting it. we think we know as we are raising our kids but at the tail end of it I feel like I became the mom I really wanted to be. I think this has allowed my soul to finally let go of the anger. it’s been gone awhile… but little tinges have stuck with me on this day. but above all becoming a mother really did teach me how to love with every cell and piece of my heart. before the moment where my first child was dropped on my chest I think I thought I knew how to love - but really, becoming a mom is what made me feel like I could and would do anything for a tiny (or grown up!) human.
being a mom, becoming a mother - this has been my healing. even when things were messy in life I just knew I had to be what I didn’t have. not out to spite or anger - but because I finally was able to understand what this mom thing was all about.
and this year? I am so freaking delighted with where I am as a human AND a mother that I know I am in such an amazing space. I can honor my mothers memory and the lessons that she made me learn at an early age. I can now smile again when I think about her and sometimes wonder what life would have been like with her around... but, I wouldn't change anything about that time in my life. the bond that my dad and I were able to create is beyond anything I can put into words.
thank you to the women who helped raise me.. or tried to.
thank you to my dad for teaching me how to be a mom AND a dad (and doing it as well)
thank you to my kids for showing me HOW to be a mom
thank you to myself for not giving up on letting this shit go.
so today and everyday - thank those who have helped you move forward…thank your mama for giving the gift of guidance. if she wasn’t there thank the person who took that space up in your heart as a motherly figure. sisters, friends, cousins, aunts… they all fit the bill.
you don’t need to give birth to be a mother. shoot, you don’t even need to be female to fill that role. if that’s you - thank you for what you are doing for someone. you are doing an amazing thing for another human being and I am hugging you through the computer. I promise.
happy day to you - whatever it means. ❤️
till next time…
ps: and yes, this below is my favorite tori amos song... of course. ;)