Today isn’t a happy day for everyone. And before you accuse me of being a “downer” or playing the pity card, please understand that negativity is not the intention of what I am about to write. It is understanding and compassion for those that have a similar relationship with their biological mother as I do. And it perhaps is to acknowledge that having a good mom is not a given. So if you have one, be grateful.
I’d like to say that for quite a few people I know, Mother’s Day is a hard day. It’s a day where you feel like you should be doing something for someone special; the person who gave birth to you. Talk about feeling like the only kid whose parents never showed up for school stuff… oh yeah right. I was that kid.
As I went through cards looking for the perfect one to give my mother-in-law (personally I dislike cards in general but that’s another story) I felt the pang. Some jealously that my husband had “that kind of Mom” and I didn’t. I mean today, my Facebook will fill up with pictures of happy Mom’s and crafted gifts, smiling kids and almost unbearable sentimentality that will turn me literally, green with envy in spite of myself.
I’m not part of the Mother’s Day franchise because I am disenfranchised by having a really, really awful Mom. Like consistently… yuck.
The Mom’s that “kill it” by actually caring for their brood, loving them, supporting them and helping them as friends and mentors through life… those women own Mother’s Day. Without a doubt they deserve the laurels they receive; in fact, they deserve them every week let alone one day per year. And before you think that I am a monster for having no kind thoughts for my own Mom… I haz references. The last things that came out of my Mother’s mouth in May of 2013 no one would believe. Except my husband who heard every single word uttered … via Skype during those last dark days that were really just a culmination of what I always knew; my parents sucked.
I am finally at a place where I can shake my head when these memories come back. Now as a loving step-parent who would (and has) done everything for her twin sons I see the shortfall in another way. First, that my sensitive loving and caring heart is a miracle in itself. Two, that I am a wicked cool step-mommy who my boys love mightily and a beloved Aunty to many nieces and nephews.
Clearly being a selfish jerk to kids… skips a generation. (I also know that my sister would make a great Mom or Step-Mom too). Children sometimes resolve to be the opposite of the shortfalls they see in their own parents. I would never hit or emotionally harm any child. I’d sooner die because I know precisely how it feels.
And I also know how it feels to be treated like an inconvenience and a pawn.
On Mother’s Day this year instead, I want to dwell on the great ‘Other Mother’s’ that saw me through and continue to guide me, cheer for me, listen to me and offer me friendship and mentorship.
To Mary Alice Kelly who watched us when we were kids. I think back to how much you helped me and I am moved to tears, now as an adult when I see things with so much more clarity. Thank you and Mr. “K” for approving of my creativity when no one else did. Thank you for teaching me that music, and family and friendship and good old fashioned fun was cool. Thank you for slumber parties on your living room floor and Barbies in Cathy’s room. Thankk you for hugging me tightly and for always being positive. Thank you for my first job and enabling my independence, driving me back and forth. Thank you for being the measuring stick that I will always measure real families by.
To my Zia Gentile who has always been more than an Aunt to me. Thank you for always making me feel loved and welcome. Thank you for hugging me and doing those “tickle things’ on my back when I was stressed and cycling my anxiety. Thank you for teaching me how to make meatballs and veal and lasagna and sausages and homemade pasta. Thank you for making me eat tomatoes (did you know they are my favorite food now?) Thank you for seeing the parts that hurt without ever making me feel like I was a loser for having those hurts. Thank you for listening to me and supporting me, even my most crazy business ideas and for teaching me that being a businesswoman was cool. Thank you for standing up for me. Thank you for protecting us whenever you could.
To my Godparents thank you for loving me. Your arms and your family have given me the biggest sense of loyalty and safety when I needed it the most. Thank you for being kind and patient, steady and understanding. Thank you for showing me how important it is to try to forgive and understand others. Thank you for the little chocolate bars in your Pharmacy and for always having a smile and a big hug for me. Thank you for saving me from that house with a big cheque… I often wonder if you didn’t save my life by intervening when you did. When I think about the sacrifice you made I cry. Bless you all.
To Diane my best friend, you are only a few years older than me and I talk about four times as fast as you do. Thank you for accepting me, crazy family shit and all. Thank you for finding me interesting instead of traumatizing, hearing my hurts, being the voice of common sense through bad family stuff, infertility, divorce, bad boyfriends, bad family stuff… bad family stuff… immigration and transition. I miss being in your proximity every day of my life.
To Janet and Kaye who actively supported both myself and Kevin through the immigration process and our long distance relationship. So many people were negative or discouraging about it but your positive loving hearts and prayers, and encouragement were a light in the darkness many times when we faced a wall. I feel honored to be part of your family. Thank you for being such amazing, loving and mothering women.
To Christina. Is it possible to have a bond with someone that no one understands? I am sure I seem like this strange Canadian/Texan stalker, rehashing emotional things that you probably shrug off and chalk up to be being well… an emotional writer type. Which I am, lol! You have been my mentor and my friend and much more. You are the stick that I measure myself by; your calmness, your strength, your business acumen, your way with people and intuitive nature. If I could have chosen my own Mom… she would have been you.
To my second cousin Debbie who offered counseling and guidance; thank you for caring and helping me see perspectives more clearly. Thank you to Ann in Buffalo for being an intuitive advice giver, caring, steady and kind. I love you both.
Today I am celebrating the ‘Other Mother’s’ in my life on Mother’s Day. Strong, intelligent, loving and warm hearted women who have guided me throughout my life and during the times when I needed a “Mom” the most. God gave some women an amazing elastic heart, with the capacity to love and love beyond their own children, and to tuck other women under their wing and guide them. Know that I live my life trying to be half the woman that all of you are.
Thank you for filling the holes in me with love and strength.