Happy {single, motherless} Mother’s Day

First time taking 4 boys to Costco. 2018. I can do hard things.

I am so, SO grateful for the life I have. My children & I are healthy. All our needs are met, and then some. I am surrounded by amazing people who love and support me.

And yet…

Holidays have a funny way of sneaking up on you and dragging out that pain that you forgot was in there. Like the beat up old box of seasonal decor… You don’t think about it until it’s suddenly time to pull it out again. Dust it off, open it up, and unpack those things you hold dear, with the full understanding that they don’t fit into your life the majority of the time.

Oh, hello. I forgot I had you.

Mother’s Day will always carry some pain in it’s box. I strain to remember anything about this day during my own years as a mother, realizing now that I have dissociated most of it. It was never a day of celebration. All I can recall is sadness. Brokenness. Years of trying my hardest to smile while swallowing the pain of neglect & the disappointment of unmet expectations. Living in survival mode, in denial of my own trauma, settling for crumbs and convincing myself it was “good enough”.

Aren’t I just a ray of fucking sunshine today?

***

I don’t force myself to smile anymore. If I smile, it’s because I mean it. And if the tears need to come, those are allowed too. Anger? Yeah, that makes sense! Life can be hard, and the date on the calendar doesn’t get to dictate which days are “happy” days and which ones are not.

Today doesn’t have to be happy. It doesn’t have to be anything. But the great news is, you get to make that choice for yourself. It’s your life, it’s your day, how do you want it to go?

As for me… I spent a few minutes grieving. Thinking about my own mother and how little 7 year old Autumn was SO excited to give her a plastic rose (because it would never die, how pragmatic of me). It was peach, her favorite color. I know she still cherishes it, and someday it will be mine to cherish, too.

I grieved being single, and sat in the loneliness, wishing there was someone around to buy ME flowers. Make my coffee. Cook the breakfast. Manage the fighting, screaming children. Clean the messes and tell me I’m pretty. That I’m appreciated. That I’m seen.

***

Yes, I am a strong independent woman who can buy her own damn flowers. Yes, I can handle my kids and my home all by myself. Yes, I can love and appreciate myself. And I do!! Every. Single. Day.

But I’m allowed to want more. I’m allowed to wish there was someone to sit on the balcony with, sipping coffee and chatting about what we we’re going to do with our day. I’m allowed to miss my mom, to wonder how she’s doing and wish her well from afar. I’m allowed to grieve on Mother’s Day.

Tears for a past I left behind, and a future not yet realized. Allowed.

But it only took a few minutes before I had a smile again, because there’s too much LIFE around me. My children laughing, the birds chirping, squirrels chasing each other in the trees. Sunshine on my skin. A slight breeze. The present moment is delightful! Peace & joy overtake me, like a light switch flipped on in a dark room. Startling, almost disorienting, but welcome… because life is summoning me forward. Time to get up. Time to move.

***

If you’re feeling the swirl of mixed emotions today, know that you are not alone. I see you. I see your heart that wants to feel only joy, but can’t shake the pang of grief that’s in there, too. And it’s valid. It’s all so valid. It’s all a part of the beautiful, complicated human that you are. YOU are valid.

Feel it all. Be it all. Take up this space that is yours. What do you want to do with it?

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