Mother’s Day. Everyone looks at this day through a slightly different lens. I had a strained relationship with my mother, as anyone who has followed this blog knows, for many reasons. I have walked through my recovery issues where they are concerned and feel as though we have come to a truce. What can still “backwash”on me though, is the fact that it left wreckage in the way I dealt with being a mother myself.
No, I didn’t behave the way she did. I did not engage in the same kind of crazy behaviors. However, I was not working a recovery program, nor did I know how the damage had affected me and that I would pass it on to others in my life. Our treatment as children colors our perspective and how we approach our relationships with others later in life.
When I wake up each Mother’s Day, I am reminded not only of the difficulty and struggle with my own mother, but the issues I wrestled with as a young mom, as a single mom, as a dating mom, as a student mom and then as a new wife/mom. This, on top of the old baggage from the past made for an exceptionally challenging time in the life of our family. Add to that an ex-addict spouse, and a new spouse with underlying addiction and you have a perfect storm of chaos.
To say I was unprepared for the feelings and obstacles I would face would be a gross understatement. I was 24 years old when my son entered kindergarten, and the teachers treated me like another student. The pediatricians dismissed concerns brought up at medical appointments due to my youth and inexperience, and I had little backing from my dysfunctional family. In fear, I tried to emotionally distance myself from mothering and motherhood, because I felt like such a failure, and so completely lacking in any ability to parent. There was no one to tell me otherwise. It seemed the better thing to do, to place them each in daycare with people who seemed to know what they were doing and go to work to support my family. Maybe if I stayed out of the way, I could avoid messing it up. Besides, my low self esteem surmised that almost anybody was a better parent than I was.
It all fell apart when my ex-spouse was removed for abuse, abuse I was too emeshed in my avoidance of home and family matters to take much notice of. Here I was, suddenly thrust into the parenting role full-on. The glare of what had happened on my watch was measured in kilowatts. These small people had not asked to be born into this catastrophe, so it became my job to try and make their lives better, in whatever shape I could.
Over the next 15 years, I set about weighing each decision and how that would affect them. Even at one point, considering giving them up to the care of others. No. I decided I was done taking what I considered at the time to be an easy out for me. What about them? So, I buckled down and started over.
Life was up and down, and at times bumpy as you know what. But today I am proud of the fact that each one of them is still alive, doing their best and what the enemy meant for evil is turning for good. It has taken me many years, and may take the rest of my life to truly feel like I have completely owned up to the wreckage of my past. My kids will say it’s not a big deal, and it’s all in the past. It’s true – it is in the past.
But parts of it linger, like a bad dream. Our wreckage is there to remind us of what God redeemed us out of when we came to Him and to recovery. I dealt with the resentments I had about my mom and the stuff we went through. Perhaps the hardest part of all this is dealing with the grief and remorse over my own selfish behavior. But that’s when I remind myself that God has marked all of it forgiven. To carry it any longer is to disrespect His sacrifice. Now if this would just travel that short little distance from my head to my heart.
Much love to all of you today.♥