Let’s Not Forget

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I’ve written a couple Mother’s Day Specific Blogs in the past. You can read them HERE and HERE if you like. As a child of trauma who is mostly estranged from her adoptive mother and never knew her birth mother, it’s important to me to acknowledge that Mother’s Day is not all roses, cards and breakfast in bed for many, many of us. This is not a day of honor and joy for everyone. And there are many aspects of motherhood that go unrecognized; a day when not every mother is celebrated. The alternative and atypical mothers are left out of the picture as presented.

This year, I thought I’d write a poem. It’s definitely a rough work at the moment, but the moment is now so, here it is. Bless the mothers who are present and have gone before, but let’s not forget. 

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Let’s Not Forget

 


All Hail the Good Mothers
Mothers Remembered
The Mighty Mothers
The Struggling Mothers
The Soft Blanket Mothers
The Unyielding Mothers who Shield
With Mountains of Granite
Accommodating Mothers
Strong, Lissom and Durable
As an Old Leather Satchel
The Sheltering Tree Mothers
Oaks,Branches Stretched High
Above the Scars on their Trunks
Willows Weeping,
Caressing and Healing
Thirsty Roots Reaching
Deep into the Soil
The Hollows of Soft Earth
That Cradle, Comfort
And hide
Gratitude and Love to you


Forget not,the Unmothered Children
Children who had No Choice
No Agency
Children raised Without a Mother’s Love
Children who had to be Their Own Mothers
Children like Wild Roses
Blooming in an Urban Desert
Children with Withholding Mothers
Mothers in Name Only
A Body made for Nurture
Armed with a Razor blade Tongue
Hands that Burned Everything they touched
An Acid Embrace
Absent Mothers
Addicted Mothers
Lost Mothers
Unknown Mothers.
May Gentle Arms enfold those who Suffered the Unmother


Forget Not the Broken Hearted
Whose Mothers are Losing a battle
Right Now
Whose Mothers have Died, perhaps Recently
And Everyone Around them Thinks
They Should be Over it already
Mothers Grieved
The Almost Mothers who Dream of a Child they will never bear
Or a Child they had to Choose not to bear
Mothers Who Mourn a child that ceased to be
Grief is Not Convenient
It has No Schedule
It Slips Away and Boomerangs Back
Surprise!
The Boulder of Grief Heavily Grinds in the chest
Aches in every Bone and Breath
Until it Eases
May the Stone someday become a Feather


Forget Not, the Alternative Mothers
The Untraditional Mothers
The Not Hallmark-Perfect
Picture-Perfect Mothers
The Single Mothers
The Double Mothers
The Not Cis Mothers
The Poly Mothers
The Takes A Village Mothers
“Aunties” of all Stripes and Genders
The Dad Mothers
Mentor Mothers
Nurturing the Child of Another
Perhaps the Child of a Stranger
The I’m Just gonna do what Needs to be done
Mothers
May Respect and Love Shine Upon You!


Let’s Shout some Praise for the Unexpected
The Pseudo Mothers
The Creatrix Mothers
Who chose, instead
Or in Addition to
To be Mothers
Of Art, Of Ideas,
Of Science
Mothers of Invention
Mothers who have given Birth
To Words
Spawning entire Worlds
And then,
The Zoo Mothers
Cross Species Adopters
With Children of Scale, Fur and Wing
Mothers to Cats and Rabbits and Dragons
To Creatures Hairy and Scary
All those who made Unpopular
Unconventional Choices
That Make a Better World
Bravo, Three Cheers for You!


There’s Always more than One Answer
Let All the Mothers have Their Day
Let it Rain down Flowers,
Cards and Accolades
And Send out some Compassion
Amplify the View
For Many, this Day is an Ocean of Knives
The Deep Soul sucking kiss of Loss
The Tattoo of a Heart marked by Years of Starvation
A House Built of Sorrow
Room by Room
Erasure by Tradition
Hetero-Normative Invisibility
Well, I say, Damn the Norm!


While you Laud the Ideal
Of Mother as Supreme nurturer
Forget Not, the Orphans
The Mourners
The Misanthropes
The Atypicals
Save for them a Cup of your Empathy
Pull on your Inner-Mom boots and ask yourself
Who really NEEDS my nurturing today?
Drop them
A Note
A Virtual Hug
A Poem
A Kindness
Let them know you SEE them
And All the Glory of their
Immeasurable Value
Depth of Bereavement
Loneliness
Wistful Contemplation
Difference
Remembrance

Let’s Not forget

 

Another Mothers Day Blog

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I don’t have the spoons to write a big Mother’s Day blog this year.

Mother’s Day is one of the rough ones for me. Honestly, ALL of the, “in your face commercialized holidays” are rough when you have painful family issues. It’s probably just as well, I’m still recovering and slept through the whole day. I missed most of the cheery, teary sugar and schmaltz and that’s just fine with me.

Some people I know and care about lost moms recently. Some have mothers who had health scares or were in the hospital this year. I want to send extra love to those who are missing their mothers and to those for whom Mother’s Day has extra meaning because they weren’t sure there mother’s would be here this year.

 
As always, I want to acknowledge those for whom Mother’s Day hurts because their relationship with their mother is/was difficult, terrible or absent. I want to acknowledge those mother’s who pulled out all the stops to love and protect their child but lost them anyway through death, drugs, mental illness or just emotional distance. I want to shout out to all the heroic parents who have had to be both Mom and Dad to their kids. And I want to give a big hug to all those Moms whose kids happen to be furry, feathered or scaled. You aren’t less than because you chose to nurture a pet rather than pop out a hooman. You have your reasons. It’s cool. Maternal love doesn’t discriminate.

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The Murkiness of Mother’s Day

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roseThree Little Words:

“Happy Mother’s Day.”

What comes to mind when they fill up the airwaves, the social media feed, every brick and mortar store, restaurant and retail web site.

To be sure, Mother’s Day is a loaded topic and a marketing paradise!

There is so much myth and propaganda about Motherhood in general. Mothers are raised on a pedestal and then disrespected because they don’t have a “real job.” Motherhood is supposed to be compensation enough.

There are those who bicker about what makes a mother. Does she have to carry and birth a child? Does a mother have to be a cis gendered female? There are those who seem to think that having given birth to a child makes them somehow superior to those who have not. Mothers are both revered and dismissed, sometimes in the same breath, sometimes in a schism between word and action. Motherhood is supposed to complete a woman. Motherhood is for women who have no ambition. There is both contempt and admiration for the working mother.

Really, it’s quite bizarre!

Mother’s Day makes some feel warm and fuzzy others bereft with longing and loss.

It can be a guilt bomb, a trigger that floods the brain with paralyzing memories of trauma!

For those who have happy memories and good relationships with their mothers it can be very hard to understand why someone else might feel differently. For mother’s basking in the glow of appreciation it might be difficult to understand why some might dread the day.

Personally, I take Mother’s Day for mostly the hallmark contrived consumer manipulating holiday that it is. I have my own personal, quite painful issues with Mothers Day, but that aside, this day brings up feelings and ruminations about motherhood in general and its connotations. Sincerely, to all the compassionate, loving, yet tough as nails mothers of all genders and types out there, you are a blessing! And for those who were blessed to have one or more wonderful, supportive, nurturing people in your lives I am glad for that! And to the many amazing people who survived their mothers and make the world a better place despite them, perhaps by finding something inside themselves or by the intervention of non traditional mother figures, I say HUZZAH!

But the holiday, in my opinion can truly go stuff itself. Ironically, “The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.” (from History.com) I have linked the page at the end of this post if you would like to learn more about the history of Mother’s Day and celebrations of mothers in many cultures.

I think mothers, not those that live up to the ideal, but real flesh and blood complicated people who do the things that make little humans grow up to be good people and continue to help adults “adult with value” are amazing! I dislike the American Mother’s Day tradition and I am frequently vexed by those who feel one must forgive, love and respect one’s mother no matter what crimes she may have committed under the facade of motherhood!  In my opinion those who say things like, “But she’s your mother,” “You have to forgive your mother, you won’t be ok until you do,” “You only have one mother,” or “I’m sure she did the best she could,” are either just so uncomfortable that they want to gloss over a painful topic or somehow they feel a friend’s healthy (yes I said healthy) vitriol toward an abusive parent threatens their feelings about the relationship with their own parent. It’s similar to the friend who somehow thinks that it’s a comment on their relationship if someone close to them breaks off a relationship no matter how valid the reason.

On this day I’d like to challenge you to take pause and reflect. Anyone with a womb can give birth to a child. Anyone can want a child. Anyone can raise a child. But not everyone can be a mother. Those people who do it well are the real rock stars. They are absolute Super Heroes! They can be birth mothers, adoptive or step mothers, friends, relatives, strangers. They can be transwomen. They do not have to be “women” at all. These “mothers” make a difference in lives.Sometimes they save them.

Here are some of the people I think about and send my love to every day, but especially on this day:

  • Those mothers and to those who have filled in as mother figures who have truly exemplified the best of motherhood, who have been supportive and nurturing and in doing so made this world a better place.
  • Those fathers who found they needed to be both mother and father to their children and busted their ass to make their children feel loved and safe!
  • Those children who needed the love and support of their parents but found themselves instead in abusive homes or had Mothers who lacked compassion when they needed it most, because they were L.G.B.T., had a disability, or were in any way different from the ideal “norm” their mother had envisioned. Those whose mothers chose politics, belief, religion or other people’s opinions over the love and acceptance of their child.
  • Those who longed to be mothers, who lost babies, who outlived their children, lost contact with children through a breakup or divorce, had to give them up or who made difficult choices because of circumstance.
  • Those who decided not to have kids and in doing so lived their dreams, inspired and loved kids that were not their own or simply lived their own happy, child free lives despite the criticism of others.
  • For those “aunties” and “uncles” who fulfilled nurture when it was otherwise absent or provided extra love and encouragement!
  • Those mothers who have done everything they can, spilling out their hearts, using all their inner and outer resources, asked for help yet still struggle with children with health, behavioral or substance abuse problems or have lost their relationship with or physical custody of their children despite being good mothers. It doesn’t always work. It just doesn’t.
  • Those who have lost or are losing mothers and mourn their deaths.
  • Those who have unwanted distances, physical and otherwise in their mother/child relationships.
  • Those who never knew their mothers, who never really had mothers, who were abused by their mothers, who have difficult relationships with their mothers for a variety of reasons.
  • Those who look in the mirror and see their mother, see themselves making gestures their mother did or acting like their mother; perhaps taking comfort in these inherited mannerisms, perhaps loathing them.

So, while you are taking part in the commercialized celebration of motherhood; if you had a happy childhood, if you love, respect and have a good relationship with your mother, know that not everyone is so lucky. Instead of criticizing people who don’t share your good associations or dumping guilt on them, be compassionate. Try to remember that this day is a painful reminder to many for a variety of reasons. Not just those who have had abusive mothers but for those who are far away from their mothers, whose mothers may have dementia, whose mothers may be dying or deceased, who may have never known their mothers or may long to be mothers and have a great deal if pain around the subject. To all those I have listed above and more, it can be very, very hard!

On a very personal level, I  could be entirely bitter and yes, all the Mother’s Day saccharine does sting. I was adopted which makes the childhood I had all the more  disheartening. I may never know my birth mother or family. I am currently estranged from my adoptive mother and I am aware that my silence on this day.probably hurts her. I have compassion for that, however I could logically say, it is a fair, “punishment.” It’s not meant as a punishment. It is self care on my part. Right now. I need distance.

Though she vehemently denies it, I believe my mother was a victim of abuse who continued the legacy instead of rising above it. She put her children in harms way instead of protecting them! No child should ever have to endure what I have in my childhood and adult life due to their parents and family, period.

I never had a real mother figure in my life though I certainly had people who made a positive difference. I never wanted a child, perhaps partly due to my traumatic childhood and I never felt my life would be lacking if I didn’t have one. I have loved many children. I helped raise two dear girls when I was young only to have them yanked out of my life by their unstable drug addicted mother. I was surprised by an accidental pregnancy a few years ago and lost that baby when I was quite far along. So yeah. All things “mother” are complicated for me.

So while parts of me are cynical, despise the commercialism, find the subject painful.and often cause for righteous anger when people who do not understand try to make me feel guilty I am also filled with respect and awe for the mothers and mother figures I see around me who often thanklessly improve the lives of not just their own children but many more. They are a blessing to the world and all too briefly!

So try to be sensitive while celebrating. And if you really love and respect your own mother or mother figures in your life, let them know it now. Let them know frequently! Don’t just wait for Mother’s Day, Christmas, holidays or birthdays! Don’t wait until they are gone to praise them. Don’t leave things unsaid.

For those people who have filled this place in your life consider making every day a Happy Mother’s Day.

Here are a few blogs and articles that I found touching or interesting this past week:

The History of Mother’s Day

Some wonderful comments from author (and mother) Anne Lamott about why she hates Mother’s Day

Is being a mother a real job?

Mother’s day, when you may not be perceived as a mother

Mother’s Day as a Feminist tradition!

Letting go of toxic Mom’s and finding healthy replacements