I was remembering just yesterday my very first Mother’s Day in 1990. After ten years of marriage I was finally pregnant and grateful beyond words.
On that Mother’s Day in 1990 my husband and I gathered with my parents and my youngest brother after church to go to lunch. I remember as we were leaving the restaurant, the wait staff handed my mother a rose, and then they handed one to me. I was a little surprised. I wasn’t a mother yet, I thought, and I mumbled something to that effect, I was only expecting a baby in a few short months. I was assured by those around me that yes, I was a mother, and this was indeed my first Mother’s Day.
It did not seem right to me at the time. I hadn’t earned the right to that title. I hadn’t put in the sleepless nights while tending to a newborn or nursing a sick child no matter how serious or how long it took, knowing that my presence made them feel better.
I hadn’t worried over the hurt feelings of a child who had been left out of a game or a party. I hadn’t spent any nights pretending to sleep until I heard my teenager come in from a night out. I hadn’t done any of those things, and yet, I was a mother.
And then I thought of all those women who longed so desperately to become a mother and it never manifested as the years rolled by and the clock ticked on. I had been there myself for those ten long years full of heartache and dreams.
That’s when I knew that being a mother wasn’t about putting in the time or bringing a baby into the world. It was more about pouring into the life of a child regardless if you were the birth mother, a relative or someone who chose to love a child just because.
I was a part of a prayer group on Zoom, and one of the participants prayed a prayer over mothers–all women really, whether they were ever pregnant or gave birth to a child. The words spoken resonated as I remembered…
It may or may not take a village to raise a child, but it does take a willing heart, an open mind and a decision to love as a mother does, with her whole heart.
Are there times in your life of dysfunction and chaos due to the behavior of an addict or alcoholic, that you regret the way your kids were raised?
Do you long for a do-over because you know way more now about staying in your lane, and lovingly detaching than you did when your children were young?
It’s only natural given the way things are while living with an addict or alcoholic, and, living with someone who deals with mental health issues.
We grow into the things we need to know when living in chaos, no matter the cause. I would be willing to bet that you were a great mom, or you wouldn’t be reading this.
You loved your kids with a fierce love.
You did everything in your power at that time, to be the best mother you could be.
You are loving, kind and courageous. So, give yourself a break. No, go bigger than that. Pat yourself on the back for a job well-done. You were there, loving them the best you could. Protecting and nurturing. but most importantly, YOU WERE THERE.
If you struggle with the past, especially when it comes to how you mothered due to the chaos of addiction, let me know how I can help.