Sunday, May 8, 2011

My first truly happy mothers day

Mother's Day has always been a tricky one for me.  How to honor a woman who had a transparent dislike for me most of my life?  I have considered creating a line of greeting cards for dysfunctional families to help them out.  Most of the typical ones on the market are too flowery, too gushy, too full of lies.  I really needed one that said "Happy mother's day, I'm so glad abortion was not available in your day."  She always made if very clear that if she had that option, I would not be here.
After working through many decades of fear alternating with loathing, it is refreshing to not have to pay false homage to her, to be free of the hoopla that surrounds this holiday.  The many years I took care of her I would pretend she was just a sick old woman that needed my care, a stranger I didn't know (which wasn't far from the truth), and in that way I could perform my duties. 
It has been a year since her death on May 5th and I arranged to have a quiet, gentle day to be ready for any emotions that surfaced.  I spent time in the company of my garden group at a nursery (always fun), had a quiet lunch at my favorite soup place (Pickerman's) and then had a soothing massage at Caring Hands (784-9495).  It was a most perfect day.
It was in the midst of the massage, maybe due to the essential oils Kathy uses, more likely due to her wonderful spirit, that I felt a great deal of the anger and resentment melt away from me.  I just let it go and immediately felt lighter and more content.  It is time to begin my healing. 
I do believe that my goal of losing weight is now possible as I am out from under the dark cloud that surrounded her. She would always remind me of how heavy I was and I think I kept the weight packed on like a suit of armor to shield myself from her.  It was a visible barrier and when she made me nervous or feeling hurt I would soothe myself with food, taking in the nourishment I never got from her.  Now I have the nourishment of friends and family that love me openly and am able to let down my walls, being free of her attacks.
Death is so final.  All the things I would have liked to have asked, but were afraid to, will never be said out loud now.  "Do you love me now?"  "Are you proud of me in any small way?"  When asked by the chaplain why I never pushed these questions at the end of her life, I explained that I was afraid of the answer.  My mother did not lie or mince words, she just didn't have that 'polite filter' that comes in so handy.  To not ever hear "I love you" or "I'm proud of you" allowed me to fantasize that maybe she really did and just couldn't say it.  To ask and be told "no" would have been too devastating, I just could never risk it.  And now I'll never know.
So, I ask this favor of you mother's out there on this special day.  Give your children your blessing.  Tell them to their face that you are proud of them, that you are happy to have achieved motherhood through their birth.  Tell them directly that you love them.  Please don't ever do this disservice to your children and let them always wonder if they were enough or feel they were a mistake.
Long live the Queen of Being Enough


  1. Cheryl, It is obvious to me that you are one resilient woman. From the first time I met you there was a connection filled with love, not anger or loathing. This mother's day you are FREE and I hope you celebrate the mom and woman you have become and feel free to forget (even just for a moment) the woman who gave us you. Hugs to you, my friend!

  2. My friend, I've been partway down that sad road and I understand your sorrow. When we were small children, I know our mother loved us. But as we got older, she had no use for us. I don't ever remember hearing "I love you", and we didn't get hugs. The first thing I taught my children was to be free with the "I love you's" and hugs were wonderful.

    God loves you, and if you love yourself, everyone else who matters will love you too. You are a talented, caring, and wonderful woman. Your humor brings sunshine to so many people out here in cyber world.

    I hope today is the beginning of so many more happy Mothers Days for you. You have a great night. Hugs from me and Tootsie.

  3. I don't think anyone of our generation every heard the words "I love you". I guess maybe their parents never taught them. I tell my children and grandchildren "I love you" each time I speak to them and I then hear them repeat the phase back to me. What joy to finally hear those words. My husband is never shy about saying them either. Enjoy your day, I did mine with breakfast with our son and wife, and a long phone call from my daughter.

  4. Cheryl, been there. My father passed away March 2010 and he was one of those people. Nothing was ever good enough. I learned long time ago from my foster parents that hate will eat you up. I acknowledged him as being my father, but that was the extent of it. He never hugged, never said I love you or I'm proud of you. His sister and brother were teh complete opposite. Anyway, hope you begin to heal and let that hatred go. You're an awesome lady!

  5. Beautifully said; brought tears to my eyes. I pray that your true healing has started.