Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Sunday Blessings - Mother's Day Edition

Please Note: This is an unusual post for me, and especially for the day. It was a really hard post to write, written with tears, and flooded with bad memories and feelings of bitterness, resentment and heartache. But it was time. Well, in all honesty, way past time, but I'm a slower learner. This may be difficult to read, but it was difficult to write and even more difficult to live through. But I did live through it; it's my truth. No longer willing to bear a shame that was never mine to carry in the first place, I shine the light of truth in the dark corners of my heart so that the sunlight can heal the festering wounds inside. I have survived and I have thrived. It's time to put the past truly behind me.

Motherhood; it's a tough gig. "The hardest job you'll ever love!" Yeah, that. While growing up, kids always imagine themselves grown up and dream of the jobs they'll be doing. A princess, a ballerina, or an Olympic figure skater, maybe? Or later, when you're older perhaps a news broadcaster, a lawyer, or a teacher? I really had no idea of what I wanted to do when I grew up, except that I knew that I would be a mother. And that I would be a great one!

Some great mothers are made from watching their own mother's incredible talents and selflessness. The gentle guidance and natural nurturing instinct that is pretty much hard-wired into every woman's DNA. We as women are naturally and spiritually designed to love and nurture, to bring forth life and to cherish it to it's fullest potential. Frankly, I can't imagine not feeling this way; it's as natural to me as breathing.

Not every woman feels this way, and that's perfectly OK! Those women are the ones who don't want children, and absolutely shouldn't have them. But some do, and no one wins.

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Gave Birth to Me:

I refuse to call you "my mother" because you were never, ever anything even close to resembling a mother to me. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that had abortions been legal and readily available to you at the time of my conception, I would not be here to write this today. I've often wondered how different so many lives would have been if I had not lived. Or if I had been put up for adoption to a family that actually wanted me.

You were a terrible mother.

I know you didn't want me. I know you didn't love me. I know in your eyes, I "ruined" your life. I know all these things because you told me so. Every.Single.Day. You told me that not only was I not loved by the one person who was biologically programmed to love me, but that I was fundamentally unlovable!!! You told me that no one was ever going to love me. Not ever. My earliest memories are of your anger and your hatred towards me. You never wanted me. You never loved me. And you made sure I knew it. And you made sure I stayed in my room, with the door forever closed. Just as the door to your heart was forever closed where I was concerned.

You were a terrible mother.

You never missed a chance to belittle me, or to put down any of my achievements. There was always something wrong, something missing, something not done right. In a vain effort to earn your love, I would attempt to try and discover any possible mistake I had made in order to "fix it" so that I would be deemed worthy in your eyes. I learned to always look for things that were wrong, instead of looking for joy and beauty. It's something I still struggle with today. Even to this day, my natural inclination is to look for things that are wrong, instead of the effort and love that was intended. No chore was ever done to your satisfaction, no report card was ever perfect enough, no award was ever truly earned in your opinion. There was nothing I could ever do that would be valuable in your eyes. I was worthless, and every effort was a failure.

You were a terrible mother.

You not only participated in, but allowed, my life to be one of abuse, neglect and cruel torture. I was never properly clothed, or properly fed. You would often, and loudly, remark that any money spent on me was "a waste". Why waste perfectly good money on anyone besides yourself, right? To this day I find it nearly impossible to accept a sincere compliment, or thoughtful gift. This can't be for me...I'm not worth it and it's a waste to spend money on anyone so worthless! How many countless times was I screamed at and denounced? How many times was I beaten into unconsciousness, left on the floor in a puddle of urine? How many holes were made in the walls where my head had been bounced off of them repeatedly? How many lumps and bruises did I have to explain away to others?

You were a terrible mother.

I'm 47 years old now, a grown woman. I know a thing or two about adult trials and responsibilities. I know what it is to work hard to earn an income, and to pay the bills. I know the hard work and frustrations that can come with marriage and raising children. I know the pain of divorce. I know and have lived through many of the same things you have. But there's a big difference between us.

I'm an amazing mother!

You have no idea that I'm the proud mother of three children of my own. You have no clue how special and talented each of them are in their own way. I have raised them and loved them. I pray for them and worry about them. I tell them I love them every day. Every.Single.Day. I hug them, and kiss them and snuggle them. Affection is never withheld. Love is never something they've had to "earn".

I'm an amazing mother!

I've made lots of mistakes, and I've cried and agonized over every one. There is nothing more important to me than my children's welfare and happiness. Nothing is more important to me than the dandelion given in love, or hearing about their latest success. Every tear and trial they go through, I go through with them. I live for them. They are my sacred purpose. Are they worthy of me?? The real question is how am I worthy of them?? How is it that I've been blessed beyond measure to be the mother to three incredible people?

I'm an amazing mother. And I take great pride in that fact.

You were a terrible mother. And that is something you have to live with.

You were selfish and mean-spirited. You were cruel and evil. You did everything in your power to crush me, to kill my soul and my spirit. But you failed. I somehow, by the grace of God, managed to live through the years you bound me to doubt, fear, shame and a loveless existence. You no longer have the ability to hurt me or ruin my days. I no longer strive to be worthy of your love or even acceptance; you are a dim and dusty relic of my past. I have moved past you, into a life filled with love, beauty and joy. I live a life you will never have. I am cherished by a good and kind man, who lives for my every happiness. I have the pride of watching three amazing children grow up to their full potential, with me their biggest fan. I have a huge circle of friends, from all over the world, who love me and share their lives with me. I have everything, and you have nothing.

And today, I forgive you. Not because you are worthy of the grace, but because I'm worthy of the release. Hating you only hurts and hinders me. And I'm not going to allow you to hurt me anymore! You are dead to me. You are nothing to me. You are the fading nightmare, that disappears in the beauty of the morning sunlight. I release all the bad memories. I release all hurtful words. I release every instance of abuse and neglect. I release it all. Today I put down those heavy chains of embarrassment and shame. I put down the steamer trunks of wasted time and resentment. You aren't worth it, and I'm worth everything! From now on, you no longer occupy any space in my head, or my heart. From now on, this day will be about my motherhood, not yours. Today I received my warm, soft snuggles and kisses, handmade gifts, and the boundless, unconditional love of my youngest child. You missed out, but I never will.

I forgive you.

And now it's finished.

From the daughter you threw away with both hands


Linda said...

Well done on sharing such an emotional part of your life. From what I read on your blog you truly are a wonderful and caring mother. Happy Mother's Day to you.

Gail said...

Happy Mother's Day Jeannie!
I don't know what to say so I found a quote:
"Pain can be endured and defeated only if it is embraced. Denied or feared, it grows."
You got this!

ChicagoLady said...

*Types through the tears*

YOU are a WONDERFUL mother! Despite everything, YOU are a beautiful person inside and out. Your children are BLESSED to have a mother like you! Enjoy every day with them and KNOW that YOU are WORTHY!


Amy said...

I've always admired you, and now I do more than before. Someone I love dearly had a similar childhood, and he has worked his way through, also. The two of you are magnificent examples to me of the healing power of Jesus Christ and of the enduring strength of the human spirit.

Rita said...

Happy, happy belated Mother's Day, Jeannie!
Sometimes I think we are given certain people in our lives as shining examples of what NOT to do--who NOT to be. And knowing that pain is so deeply ingrained in us that we shall never forget it...and never want to do that to anyone else.

You are worthy. You are a good person. You are lovable. You got cuddles and gifts on Mother's Day. You know things she never knew. :)

AliceKay said...

I wished I had read this yesterday, but even though a day late, Happy Mother's Day. You are one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and your love for your children can be seen and heard from everything you say and do. You are one of my closest friends, although I have never personally met you.

And you are so thoughtful. Thank you for the beautiful card that reached my hands when I really needed a thought from a friend. *hugs*

Intense Guy said...

It is a shame, actually, that it is (too) easy to have children (for most people) and those for which it is hard or impossible - would cherish a child like it should be.

And it is (too) easy to have a child and nearly impossible to be a great parent (they are two very different things - think "sperm donor" versus "father".)

It is a shame that some people treat any living creature the way they do - they should really be ashamed of themselves (but since they are the way they are, they are rarely if ever ashamed of themselves).

You - were "forged" in a hellish crucible - hurt - but like the pine cone that needs a fire to release the seeds - you sprouted into a mighty fine tree... a Christmas Tree all decorated at that.


Thank you -- I too got a beautiful card from you - when it was needed most.