Mother’s Day has never been a day I terribly enjoyed. That’s really underselling things. I flat out hated it. I stayed in bed as long as I could get away with, snapped at Bear, stayed in both my pajamas and a depressive funk, and went back to bed as early as I could. Part of that was of course because of our long struggles with infertility, but thanks to Atti that issue has gotten a lot easier. As I was looking back through my archives to find that link, I noticed that most of my Mother’s Day posts describe me staying home from church. That’s no accident. Having a child made one part of Mother’s Day better, but I didn’t think that anything could fix how I felt about not having my own mother to celebrate.
My childhood was rough, and yadda yadda yadda, I haven’t spoken to my parents in nearly 13 years. They haven’t changed their behavior, they think I’m ridiculous and melodramatic, and there is a big hole in my life where family is supposed to be. Since Atti was born, I spent Mother’s Days adoring him and being grateful for my little family, but there was always a dark echo reminding me of the relationship I’d severed.
I was never sad for the actual relationship, or missed my actual mother. Cutting off contact was the absolute right thing, and continues to be. What I mourn is the mother in my imagination. The one who was supportive, who cheered me on, who thought I was great and liked spending time with me. The mother I’m trying to be to Atticus. And when I would go to church, I’d hear stories of that mother, and the missing was too much to bear.
When I woke up yesterday morning, Bear asked me if I was going to go to church. I hemmed and hawed, started getting ready and then got back in bed. I couldn’t decide if I was ready to chance losing my composure at the mention of that mother I longed for and never got to have. But Atti just got a hair cut and Bear was getting him dressed, so I decided to take a chance.
I’m so glad I did. My little guy sang in the Primary choir, his face just peeking up over the wall of the stand. I spent time with my church family where I felt loved and accepted. And surrounded by my women friends in Relief Society, I felt fine. I felt better than fine. I felt that I was finally ready to let go of the last traces of the dream and recognize that the mother I never got to have was all around me, spread out throughout all the women I know. Women who teach me and nurture me, who help me raise my child, who offer me inspiration and someone to love. Family is what we make it, and I am so grateful for mine.