Traditionally my birthday and mother’s day have always fallen on the same weekend or at the least one weekend apart. When I was little some of my sweetest mother/daughter moments were of these times. My only truly fond memories of my mom and I are when I was very young, around age 5 or 6 when we would get all dressed up and go to this mother/daughter dinner thing with our church. I would drink Shirley Temple’s and in those moments felt connected to my mother. But the feeling didn’t last and our attendance at the dinner’s ended.
My relationship with my mother beyond those moments was truly traumatic and abusive—emotionally and psychologically. Most mother/daughter relationships are complex but ours went beyond complex to abusive. My mother, raised in an alcoholically abusive home, didn’t know better and thus parented in the only manner she knew how to. Critical of my every action, thought and word, I walked around on eggs shells with her. I taught, craved and required her acceptance and love. It was a losing uphill battle. I never got what I needed. Instead, I got pain, guilty, shame and an utter feeling of abandonment.
My birthday was always overshadowed by my mother’s need to pretend we had a normal mother/daughter relationship. She would give me these over the top, dramatically sappy birthday cards as though we were the best of friends. But they were just words on recycled paper. They never leapt off the paper and proved true in our actual lives. Although I clung to those cards and wished they would. I still have every one she ever gave me.
The abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother was a contributing factor to my own addiction. After all it is a cycle, one I thankfully broke in 1997 upon her death and my rebirth. She died in my arms of breast cancer and three months later I awoke in the same hospital she died in and was reborn into a new life; a life of joy, freedom, sobriety and hope. So in many ways, it was her death that caused my rebirth. For this I am eternally grateful.
Today, on the eve of my birthday and mother’s day I can be grateful for my birth and celebrate the day without all the feelings that kept me trapped in my addictions in the past. I can forgive my mother and on mother’s day be reminded of the good times. I can honor the new mother /daughter relationship I have with my step-mother. She, who truly embodies what a mother should be in every aspect of the word. I have been blessed to have a “do over” in this department. God sent me an angle who offers me unconditional love, support, advice, friendship and comfort when I need it.
This year I am overwhelmingly thankful for the past, present and potential future of potentially being a mother myself one day.
Something I never would have considered without the gift of recovery.