Love Of A Mother
Over a decade ago at a Mother’s Day event – brunch, supper, something with lots of food – I heard a woman declare that it would be the saddest day of her life if her children did not celebrate her on that special day. The depth of her emotions as she made that declaration moved me in a perplexing way. On the one hand, being a mother myself, I could understand the pain of not hearing from my daughter on a special occasion. Yet being a child who very rarely felt the proverbial “love of a mother,” that woman’s comment felt hollow.
Mother’s Day is not necessarily a happy occasion for everyone. I was one such.
For many, there is no Hallmark card available to express the way we feel about our relationship with our mothers. Years ago, I mused about writing cards for people like me who had mothers from hell, fathers who were MIA and families who forgot they exist.
The day after Mother’s Day, many at work can be heard talking about what they did or was done for them on Mother’s Day. Back in the day, I would keep quiet because I had no such story to share; at least not about how Mother’s Day with my parent.
Truth About Mother’s Day – For Some
Standing in my kitchen in a house my then partner and I rented in the cool hills of Mandeville, Jamaica in 1994, my mother asked me for the umpteenth time “Cutie, why don’t you love me?” I had heard the question a few times before and avoided giving her an answer. This day was different – I was ready to speak my truth.
I did love my mother my way. I learned many things from her journey. Her life taught me in many ways how to live mine. My mother’s brand of love showed me how to create a personal brand for my relationship with my daughter, and now my granddaughter. I wanted Mother’s Day to be different in my house.
You see, in many respects, my life shares similarities with Precious. Years ago, a friend at work loaned me the DVD and my daughter, Abigail, and I watched it together. I told her that I did not want to watch it alone and quickly distracted myself playing SIMS 2 as the crudity, evil, self-loathing of Precious’ mother tried to grab me through the television screen.
It has taken many years, tears and even therapy (spiritual and psychological) to help me to the place I now am.
My mother, however, to her death denied she did any harm.
Denial Does Not Promote Healing
When confronted by the school counselor/social worker about her role in Precious’ life of physical abuse, molestation, rape, low-self esteem – just to name a few – her mother wept and denied any wrong-doing. She finally asked, “Who was going to love me?” as if that made right everything she did or ignored.
In life one word, a sentence, a paragraph or an entire book can make the deepest mark on your development. At the heights of a custody battle with my daughter’s father, a dear friend advised me to not fight fire with fire. Her simple words to me were “Show your daughter all the love you can muster and one day she will know the truth.”
As she was growing up, I disciplined Abigail – even spanked her a few times. Some people think that I spoiled her but they probably never heard the lectures I delivered and seen the tears I cried as I shared with her life lessons.
Today, she remembers my missteps, she recalls how angry she was at me for many things not least of which were:
- insisting that she learned proper table manners, social etiquette.
- not allowing her to watch The Simpsons and dancing at a school concert to “I’m a Barbie girl.”
I can say my daughter is my child and after much trial and tribulations – my best friend.
Mother’s Day Every 24 Hours
The Hallmark moments for me over the years were not on Mother’s Day. They were every morning at 6:45 when Abigail called me to say hi and share the suss’ (gossip) of the previous day. I experienced Mother’s Day every night that my baby girl, at 20+ years of age would call me to say she made it home and asked for advice about school, work or her love life. My Mother’s Day is every morning that my granddaughter and my daughter leaves a voicemail because I am at work and cannot answer. To hear Mahalia’s “Hi, Granma tweetheart,” absolutely melts my heart. Hallmark holds nothing over me when I hear my daughter’s giggle.
It was too late for my mother and I, we never reconciled at least not face to face. It is too late for many mothers and their children – relationships neglected for too many years to be healed with a card or a telephone call. What is needed is attention, sharing of life lessons and most important love.
Mothers who never gave love, real love, demonstrable love (in hugs, kisses, discipline, encouragement) you have no right to expect sainthood now. You get what you gave.
This is a post that I have republished every year since 2010 and will do so as long as there is breath in my body and I am still blogging. Why? Having missed the love of a mother, I have a message for mother’s who still have a chance. Mothers with young children today – heed my warning.
The rest of the world needs to understand this flip side and stop harassing those who have no experience of warm and fuzzy on Mother or Father’s Day. Theirs and my experiences are sadness for the mother’s (and father’s) love they never felt.
Give us a break…understanding…not judgment, while you celebrate your mothers and your children.
If you are like many and are having a challenge with days such as Mother’s Day and would like a listening ear, please contact me here or through my coaching service. Subscribe and receive daily motivation to help you with everyday life challenges.