It became clear to me many years ago that holidays were invented by people with loving families. This is never more apparent for me than in the months of May and June…Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
So as the entire country seems consumed with all things "mom" this month, I get a constant reminder of what I don't have. I get a constant reminder that both my mother and my father left me. In two separate, yet both haunting ways.
I share my story often as I travel the state teaching child abuse prevention-my birth mom left when I was just eight months old. I missed out on all the nurturing and simple yet profound moments that come with having a mom. While I did gain a step mom for about seven years of my life, she was far from maternal, and so my hair often looked like it did in this photo, unkempt. And that's how I often felt on the inside too...messy and disheveled. Especially in my school years, even in college, I watched how the relationship between a mother and a daughter was the center of all my classmates' lives and I felt like I was missing something profound.
Now that I am a mother to the two finest human beings on the planet, it is definitely easier to focus on the kind of parent I am more than focus on the parents I don't have. But still, every commercial, every card aisle in every store, every restaurant…every where you look....there are displays celebrating moms-a month long reminder of something I never had.
Most days, and moments, I can remind myself of all that I choose to do differently and how I let my past prompt me to be the parent I always dreamed of having. I remind my children literally every single day of their lives that I will be there for them “always and forever, no matter what” I feel confident knowing my babies are getting what I did not have. But there are times in these two long months of May and June when I get overwhelmed by that sense of loneliness and not belonging that comes when you are left parentless. It’s a sad feeling and it’s quite lonely and it can be felt even when you’re surrounded by people who love you. There’s no explaining it if you haven’t lived it. It’s kind of like you’re floating in the universe all alone and you don’t belong to anyone. And while you're there floating solo you get constant reminders you're not part of something the rest of the world seems to be, even while I was working on this blog pop ups appeared on my laptop asking if I wanted to send an e-card to my mom.
And then, just as I’m feeling more sorry for myself than even I can stand…I see the faces of my two incredible children and I hear their beautiful voices saying literally for the 50th time that day, “Mama”…and I am reminded that I do belong to someone…two beautiful someones, I belong to them, my two precious babies, and I do have it all, even if I don’t have anyone to buy those cards for in May and June.
So if you’re blessed enough to have a mom and dad who love and care for you, please tell them how much you love and appreciate them….just because. And if you’re in the club that I belong to and you don’t have your mom and dad, be reminded of all in your life that is that much sweeter, because you have survived such loss. Because that is our constant blessing, when life has been a struggle, everything that is sweet and bright and beautiful really is richer because we can appreciate how very different it all could be.