My main goal in mothering, was to try to not be my mother.
I’m constantly measuring my aptitude as a mother against the yardstick of disfunction. My goal of all time spent with my kids is to have them leave feeling loved and liked and valued. Sometimes I think I spend so much time making sure they are ok, that I am ok, that I forget to simply enjoy them. That’s something I’ve been working on the last few years. Just enjoying them.
I hate Mothers day. And I hate that I hate Mothers day. My mom isn’t here anymore to ruin this day for me. But the scars of this day haven’t faded yet.
The last Mothers day Mom was alive, I had offered to buy her annuals and plant them for her. She was feeling the effects of Chemo and often didn’t feel well. Since my love language is doing, this is what came to me. This isn’t HER love language, so I know up front this isn’t going to suffice. But thats what I had in me. When I called a few days prior I was told in her curt, clipped way, she had already bought her annuals. Her tone clearly said she was disappointed in my mother’s day offering already, because it was too close to the holiday. I had waited too long. Strike one. So I offered to come plant them. FINE.
I spent Mothers day with my kids. Because I am a mother. And around 4 I took my youngest with me to go over to plant her flowers.
It is obvious immediately I have gravely fucked up her day. again. as I have every Mothers day since my birth most likely. Words are exchanged. Her passive aggressive barbs cut, but feel familiar. My son watches. I don’t remember what was said. I just remember standing in the front yard. Digging little holes for her fucking flowers with tears streaming down my face while my 13 year old looks at me with such pity and softness. “mom. are you ok?” “yes, honey. i am ok.”
But I am not ok. My mom was a shitty mom. And most of the time I don’t feel like my mom liked me very much. And every time part of her comes out in me, I want to grab my kids and tell them “i like you. i love you. im sorry i dont know how to do this better”
And I feel guilty. Like I need to give her grace and forgiveness because she too was just a person trying to find her way. And I feel like I need to absolve her because she is gone.
I had a lovely day with my kids. They made/brought me cards. Jo and Chase made a cake. Harrison remembered that I needed a new screwdriver bit set for my drill. Taylor set the stage by being the role model big sister for years and years and brought them all over to me.
I made food, (they offered, but i really do enjoy feeding my family). We took a nice long walk through the park. We looked at all the pretty flowers which I have loved doing with them, at that park, since they were little. my boys played like little boys in the trees. I watched my son be sweet with his wife. Taylor got to love on her doggie. My boys played guitar together. And i got to just soak in and marvel at these beautiful amazing creatures. And later my daughter sent me a text and said ‘are you ok? you seemed quiet’. To which i replied, ‘I was just content and happy’. Which is true. But then it made me cry. Because that girl can read me like a book. And she reached out to me. To make sure i was ok. In a way i could never bring myself to do with mom. Even that last year as we watched her slowly fade away. I could never bridge the gap.
All I want for Mothers day, is for my kids to wake up in the morning and not have a sick spot in their stomach. They can call. Or visit. Or skype. Or whatever fits in their life and I will be happy. And I will never make them feel that their effort or offering isn’t enough. They don’t OWE me anything. They didn’t pick me. They just got born into this crazy genetic pool and they will do the best they can with the chromosome soup and family history they got with it.
And I will continue to do the best I can do pass on the good parts of our legacy. And keep trying to dim the lights on the darker stuff.