It’s Mother’s Day; I am sitting on the couch with Abigail watching Tom and Jerry. It takes me back to my childhood, sitting on the couch in my princess slip, wearing a tiara and eating cereal. I was alone though. I never see my mom when that memory replays in my mind. The feelings that are evoked when I think about the way I was mothered versus the way I mother Abigail; stun me. I am doing things so shockingly different that I feel sad when I think about I missed out on.
I have to grieve that, those losses. I don’t want to though, grief is scary. Who wants to look back at the mountain of ache and memories and sort through it all? Especially when the layers of trauma are so deep that it really only feels like I’ve just begun.
The healing really started with setting firm boundaries and walking away. Cutting off contact so that the anxiety of always having to be “on alert” for triggers could lessen. It did. Then the grief started to flood me and the waves kept coming. I honestly didn’t expect it. Truthfully though I know that part of what is holding me back in healing is that I refuse to grieve.
Grieving feels – too much –
Like if I give in and fall into the arms of grace and grieve; my skin will fall off and my heart will fall on the floor. I cannot even handle that. That amount of vulnerability and rawness is unheard of in my world. Being that exposed would feel like another layer of wounding. I go a little bit into that layer and I get scared and stop, walls go back up and I.am.done.
Yet I know the only way to truly grieve is to go there. To allow myself to be fully open, fully free with what it all means; what happened, and how to let it all fall off of my shoulders. I can continue to hold it tightly in my chest and refuse to let it go because it’ll hurt; while simultaneously the wound hurts. Or I can let it hurt, while it heals and then be free.
It hurts to parent Abigail, but in a good way. In parenting her I am reparenting myself and those parts of me that never received the love and nurture that they needed from my parents. I am learning about unconditional love, support and self care. Both for Abigail and me; we both need it. I have never known what it is like to love out of purity. To love when things really suck and you are angry. The other side of this is being loved by an amazing seven year old little girl, who is learning to trust me again after our rough start. We are rebuilding our relationship and the redemption I am seeing is nothing short of miraculous.
So today is a paradox for me. I want it to be over because I don’t want to think about grieving never having a real relationship with my mom. I am afraid of a knock at the door, them popping by to try and talk to me. I slept through the majority of the morning, grumping at Abigail every time she would try to wake me up. It was only because she wanted me to be in the family room with her because she was lonely. As I write this I think about that memory of me watching cartoons not knowing where my mom was. I think to my own promise to myself to be a different mom. As much as I want to hate today I don’t think I can. It doesn’t have to be about my mom, it can be about Abigail and me.
It has taken me a long time to understand that she and I are truly a family. All these “days” can be about us now, redemption and reclaiming family. It’s not about me and family it’s about Abigail and me now. Saying that makes this Mother’s Day seem a little less harsh and demanding on my soul. I don’t feel like I have to keep up the hurt. I can lay it down and rest in being with Abigail, mothering her and loving her.
I was in no shape to be a mother when I found out I was pregnant with her. I was in no shape to be her mother for the first five years of her life. However when I realized that I was repeating the cycle that my parents were, when I really looked at that brown eyed wild gypsy girl that God gave me; I realized that I needed a reset and I got one. He’s given me that reset over the last three years and I am not going to take it for granted.
It’s been a nasty three years no doubt. Part of me wants to erase them and move on. Except I can’t move on without these last three years. They are 100% foundational to moving forward; as is grieving.
It’s time, I know.
It’s been time for awhile; I think I needed the perspective shift of what Mother’s Day really means to me now. I needed to look at it through the lens of being Abigail’s mom, rather than my mom’s daughter.
Going forward feels good, different and right. The last three years have been a testament to really doing the work and seeing that I can in fact change. I spent so many years being told and then believing that I would never and could never change. It honestly feels amazing to know that even though I still have work to do that I am NOWHERE near where I was when I started therapy in May of 2011.
“Walk with me
Go into the dark
See the cracks
Watch them shrink
Dawn in coming
Until it comes
Sit with me
Sit with me in Saturday
Watch me grieve
Hold my hand