I woke up at 4;24 this morning.
Yeah, 4:24 a.m.
Usually, Sunday mornings I can sleep in until *at least* six or seven in the morning, but not today. It could be because I went to bed rather early, that I had a restless night of sleep, or it could be my indifferent feelings towards Mother’s Day.
Now, of course, I don’t feel indifferent towards my own children on this indifferent holiday — their hand-painted pictures, gift of a beautiful cream-filled cupcake, hugs, and sweet little kisses on my rosy cheeks are just what I imagine Mother’s Day should be like. Generally speaking, it’s a consistent thing in our household; you know, the thing called love.
Something, I never felt a strong bond with my own mother and that’s why this hallmark holiday makes me feel indifferent.
Sure, my mother gave me life, and that’s something I am grateful for, but how many mothers give birth every day? Giving birth to a child doesn’t make one a mother, just a carrier of life.
I probably sound immensely cruel, but the child hood upbringing I had, love wasn’t something I felt from my mother.
I wasn’t physically abused. Actually, I think I had only once incident where I was belted on my bottom as a child. In that light, I’m considerably lucky compared to my older siblings. Sure, my mother was nice enough…or sweet enough….when the moment arose, but it was really a manipulation tool on her part.
Sure, she was suffered a difficult hand as she had various miscarriages, and lost my little sister when she was only a few months old (I was 6 years old or so) and I remember my parents both changed. My father was inflicted with a bevy of illnesses, that softened him as a human being — and I might be partial, but *to me* he was the best father in the entire world.
I just remember my mother becoming more and more bitter and viciously angry the sicker my father got.
She was consumed with things, money, superficial items….she always wanted more and more and more; when she didn’t receive more and more and more, she placed herself as a victim…a self-inflated martyr and that’s when the true mental damage began.
Sure, I love my mother just as much as anyone loves their mother, but she didn’t mother me — and maybe she just didn’t know how.
Maybe, I was mothering her the only way I knew how by taking care of my dad.
The last year or so my father’s life, I took care of him as my older siblings had their lives to live. I remember sleeping in his room on the green futon with Kenneth — who was 18 months old – close to me and 6 weeks or so before dad died, I gave birth to Andrew. It was difficult. It was very difficult; I’d be fool to say otherwise. But in my heart, it was the thing that pulled at me. Injecting him with insulin, changing his catheter, testing his glucose levels, turning him over so he wouldn’t get a bed sore, lifting him to his wheelchair, giving him his medicine was nothing….it gave me more time with my father, and less time with my mother.
I’m sure it was hard on my mother, not being able to be intimate with my father for decades…having to feel like she was “stuck” with him, but at the same time, I was pissed off at her. She became so self-absorbed about HER feelings, she forgot her husband was in another room dying.
I’ve made peace with who my mother was and is, but on Mother’s Day, I just don’t have those feelings like other daughters have for their mothers and this socio-economic construct creates a fear-based mentality for anyone that doesn’t put their mother on a pedestal.
My mother wasn’t that loving….my mother wasn’t charitable…my mother wasn’t those things and I’m tired of feeling “Mother’s Day Shame” because of it.
As time distanced itself between me and my father’s death, my mother would always use his death as leverage to get what she wanted from me. If she needed extra money or objects (when we lived in the same state), she would always use the same line “Your dad would be embarrassed of what you have become” and it worked.
Every. Single. Time.
Thankfully, I don’t allow my mother or anyone to shame me into their own twisted manipulations.
So, forgive me, for raining on your hallmark holiday, but Mother’s Day creates indifference in me.
I actually prefer the term to the British holiday, though it’s religiously tinged and is in the middle of Lent season, and that’s “Mothering Day”. The term “mothering” signifies a large gamete of women (and men; yes, I men can “mother”) who may have had a large, if not bigger impact to a child’s development than her actual mother.
For me, it was my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Lilley who, I believe, was the first female adult in my life who gave me optimism on top of more mountains of optimism; she always used soft words with me and when entering the 5th grade I was an insecure, berated puddle of tears and lack of soul. She was the first person to call me ‘Tam’ and constantly gave me positive affirmations and encouraged me in so many ways.
My grandmother, Mimi, who passed away when I was in middle school, was much of the same, as well as, someone I just befriended this past year.
I haven’t allowed many female-to-female relationships because of the chaotic nature from my relationship with my mother, but I think the lack of that relationship was instrumental in molding me into this strong woman sitting in front of you today.
This may sound crazy or asinine, but it was actually the strong men in my life that built me up the most — they were both bold men and also nurturing savants. My father, was both parents to me — he nurtured me, and taught me invaluable lessons.
Steven, has been a strong man of faith, and has taught me to keep my inner strength fresh and brilliant.
My oldest son, Kenneth, has often allowed me to be an even more empowered woman because of finding his own magnificent truth.
There’s been other men – and women – that have been in my life like a revolving carousel that are just as important to my womanhood as the ones aforementioned.
I realize today is just a day.
It’s not Mother’s Day — it’s just Sunday.
This one day isn’t a snapshot of all that is ‘Tammy’ or all that is my mother; it’s just a day for remembering if you choose to remember.
While, I have forgiven my mother for being who she was, and our relationship is lukewarm at best, I still love her.
I love her for giving birth to me and for this great skin, but I love her for something a little bit more selfish:
I love her because she gave me one hell of a dad.
So, for that, I will call her and wish her Mother’s Day, but maybe who I should really be showing gratitude on this day is my father.
Friends, for those that don’t have a mother who creates warm feelings inside of you, just remember today is just one day in a long, and seemingly complex, life of revolving and evolving relationships.
And don’t allow this culture you into shaming yourself into feeling bad for the truth you have deep within you; don’t apologize for your emotional depth.
Keep on truckin’, beautiful.