I have been asked what my ideal Mother’s Day would be. That is a tough one for me to answer because I have never really celebrated Mother’s Day. I would be working, or years ago shuttling kids around from activity to activity or to and from friend’s houses, or just spending the day being quiet and introspective.
Now that I have time to think about it, I think the ideal Mother’s Day would be to spend it with my family. My ENTIRE family – family who is related by blood and family whom I have chosen as family – all under one roof just spending time together, laughing, crying, playing games, watching movies, etc.
Mother’s Day is hard for me. There were many years when I would pretend that Mother’s Day did not exist. I’ve experienced considerable loss: my mom passed away in 2009, my mother-in-law passed away in 2008 and my grandmothers passed away when I was in my early teens. All the women I looked up to and would ask for guidance are gone but never forgotten. Add to this list of loss, a daughter, April, whom I placed for adoption. Even though we have reunited, it is still a hard day.
Placing April for adoption was a very hard decision to make. I questioned everything. Am I doing this for the right reasons? Am I placing her with the right family? Am I ever going to see her again? Will she hate me? Will she be disappointed in me? Self-doubt on all fronts. With all of that, I still did what I felt was right for the time and I still stand by that decision.
Later, I made the decision to raise my younger daughter, Melanie. Raising a child also came with a lot of hard decisions. Am I raising her the right way? Am I raising her with the right values? When I tell her no, does she hate me? (Of course she said she did as a teenager.) Does she know how much I love her even though I tell her every day? Even though I don’t agree with some of her decisions, does she know I will still support her or at least have her back? Does she know that even though I will tell her sometimes that I don’t always like her behaviour, I always love her? (Yes, those are my mom’s words coming out of my mouth, ha-ha!) Will she be disappointed in me? Again, self-doubt on all fronts and again I did what I felt was right.
When April reached out to reconnect with me, I was ecstatic but worried at the same time. I had always hoped she would open the lines of communication, but I left that up to her and her adoptive family. Even though it was an open adoption, it ended up not going the way that either family had originally intended, but that is a topic for another blog.
As thrilled as I was to have April back in my life, Melanie at that time was not quite as thrilled. Melanie, a typical teenage, acted out and threw it in my face a time or two. “I wish you had given me away, like you did April!” or “I wish you were not my Mom and gave me away!” As hard as that is to hear, I would usually just walk away, give myself a “time out” and cry. Cry, because I was doing what I needed to do as a mother, cry because all I wanted to do was talk to my mom, but she had already passed.
Before she passed away, she stated to me that she would never forgive me for giving away her grandchild, which made me sad and angry at myself. I would think to myself, “I was only doing what I thought was right for myself at the time”.
My mom also said to me what almost every mother says to their children, “I hope you have a child that is just like you and see what we had to deal with.” And that child was Melanie. At times after Melanie and I would argue, I would look to the sky and say, “Ok Mom…I get it, now make it stop!” I have always said to Mel that I put the “curse” on her just as my mom did to me and now Melanie has a beautiful daughter of her own to celebrate with and see how the teenage years will be.
I come from a long line of strong women, and I only hope that both of my daughters and now my granddaughter know, that even though I may falter, let my anxieties get the best of me, or not always choose the right path or the path most travelled, I am strong and make the best decisions at the time for my family and me.
I need to thank all the mothers who have come before me. You are strong and have paved the way for the rest of us. So, on this Mother’s Day, for as much as I may miss the women who came before me, and my daughters may or may not wish me a happy Mother’s Day, I will stand up and celebrate that I am a mother. I will stand strong and try to help other women who are in the same position as I have been or are now and let those women know they do not need to walk the path alone.