Motherís Day just passed, which was a day to celebrate, right? We take Mommies out to brunch and give them flowers. Kids hand-craft macaroni necklaces to adorn Mommy in her Sunday dress. We kiss, hug, send cards, and jam up the phone lines as we remember our own mothers. In a perfect world, Motherís Day would be a day we could all celebrate.
But, as some of you may know, we donít live in a perfect world. For some, Motherís Day is a day people want to dig a hole and crawl in. Itís a day they wish they could fast forward through. Itís a day that makes them cringe as they watch all the happy people bustle about wearing white orchids and smiling with happy children carrying balloons.
Iím not one of those people. Iím blessed to have a fairy tale mother, the kind you read about in books, the sort of mother who hand-sewed my clothes and made my favorite meal on my birthday and went all out for Easter and Christmas and everything in between. Stacks of baby books prove how much she adored me as a child, and even now, we speak nearly every day and I continue to seek guidance from her. Even imagining losing her one day makes me tear up.
…But Many Aren’t
Most people didnít grow up with fairytale mothers. Many were more like the wicked step-mothers. As one of my friends said, ďThe world is full of assholes, and unfortunately, some of them reproduce.Ē
Averyís mother gave her up when she was born. She lived in and out of foster care for years before she was finally adopted — and then her adopted mother died of breast cancer when she was only 11. When she turned 18, fueled by the fantasy that her birth mother would take over for the loving mother she only had seven years with, she sought her out. But when she finally found her, after a pilgrimage that took her across the country, she stood at her motherís door. And her mother stood on the other side of the closed door and said, ďI donít love you. I never did. Thatís why I gave you up.Ē And refused to open the door.
Selenaís mother drank. And drank. And drank. Until she beat Selena senseless. Over. And over. And over. And then, one fateful day, after a bender that led her to beat the sh*t out of her 9-year-old daughter, Selena walked out — and never came back.
Miaís mother died in childbirth, and she grew up with a distant alcoholic father who blamed her for the death of his childhood sweetheart. And then he married her step-mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. From the day she moved in, Mia walked on eggshells, trying not to incite her explosive temper, but she couldnít win. No matter how careful Mia was, Miaís step-mother cut her down with vicious verbal abuse that rings in her ears even now, many years after she ran away from home and was emancipated from her parents.
Kimberlyís father beat her mother senseless throughout her young life. Her primary memories from childhood consist of broken glass and broken lips and broken bones — and huge cover-ups to make sure nobody knew what was really happening. Until one fateful day when Kimberlyís mother had had enough. And she picked up the gun she had been hiding for years — and shot the bastard who had been beating her for years. Kimberly spent the rest of her young life in foster care, and her mother refused to see her — not because she didnít love her, she said. Because she wanted Kimberly to have a better life and she didnít want to provide any reminders of the life she once had.