Through the years I have encouraged many to have pictures taken of their hand upon their loved ones hand and even vice versa. It will be a treasure the rest of your life, at the ending of theirs.
While I have encouraged many, I did not do it myself. The cell phones we have today with cameras were not as popular or even available back in 1996, although not for certain, knowing I did not have one.
My hands now are my mother’s hands. I never realized this until my niece grabbed my hands at the dinner table, many years ago and was in awe saying, “You have Grandma’s hands.” I do and even her swollen, aching knuckles she complained about of which I don’t care for, but thankfully just two on each hand and that is enough.
As Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, I tend to get somewhat melancholy. Wondering will my boys remember me, do they think I was a good enough mother, etc. On the other side, being a daughter, I found this date to be awkward.
My mother will always be my mom, of course, but all throughout my childhood to adulthood, we never had the mother-daughter relationship. I found myself yearning for motherly love from other mother figures and felt free to share my thoughts, touch their hand and hug. Never understanding why I felt guarded with my own mother. I know she loved me, I was her daughter. I loved her, she was my mother. It was just the acceptance of love that existed but not freely shown or spoken. What a disappointment in life.
As a family, there were many fun times, mostly with beer, at our house with many around, when I was a child. Later, it became less people in our house, as my siblings moved on with their lives. I was a late baby so I am still home. Due to work of both parents back then, the house was quiet, more seriousness, sometimes verbal bickering and I sensed jealousy, which became the norm. On top of this, I watched my dad drink heavily and then it flipped-flopped, like overnight, and mom took over the role of an alcoholic.
Understanding and realizing what I endured, I am an adult child of alcoholics with childhood emotional neglect. It all makes sense even though, so sad. Reading lately about Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), a book by Pete Walker, that can be thrown in the mix, too. In research, I have found that each of these intertwine. Since 2014, my eyes have been opened to so many things of my past and present, hopefully in recognizing and changing of my future.
My mom passed away in January, 1996. My marriage was unsettled, feeling it was all my fault. I was dealing with our young children, watching other children, tending to my father four times a day with a feeding tube, his house, our house, finances, life insurance with mom, etc., all the way down to taking out the garbage. There was no time to grieve.
It was when I stood in the grocery store, in the aisle with greeting cards and looked at Mother’s Day cards knowing I did not need to get one that year. Through the years, I would read and put back many cards as they read of the closeness and the mushy stuff between a mother and a daughter, which I never had. I just needed one to be straightforward, Happy Mother’s Day, signing my name possibly noted, with love. Standing there looking at the cards, I could not get out of the store quick enough, the grief and sadness of it all took me by surprise that day. Still, each time as I stand in the card aisle looking for just the right card to give to someone, I always remember that moment. Those silly Hallmark cards, they get me all the time. Sometimes thinking that the intercom will come on announcing, cleanup in the card aisle, a lady is crying a river.
The love was present, just knowing, and I was taken care of in the physical sense with clean clothes, nice house, etc. The outside looked fine and I learned early on how to wear and adjust my mask to appear happy, when the inside of me there was always a little girl crying out for love and attention.
While in 2014, walking in the counselor’s office about a different matter, which we discussed and I understood, it was when she said, “Now, let’s deal with you.”
While this was a surprise to me, it was not to the Lord. I have no doubt that He prepared this counselor for this time and place in my life. All through my life, I yearned for motherly hugs, never knowing why and it bothered me. It made me feel like I could not show love or receive love from my own mother (family), always coming up with the ‘what is wrong with me’ mentality. Shame had taken hold of me early on as a child, building year by year, basically stomping me down over and over of the unworthiness and feeling unlovable.
Today, meaning this time in my life, understanding the ramifications of areas mentioned, it helps me to know the whys and not question, to notice the shame as it tries to attach itself to me. I never thought I would ever get over the screams within for the hugs needed, but I have. At times wondering if I had put walls up, so that I would not be hurt again of not needing those motherly hugs, but it was and has been different. Understanding brings healing to the broken places within that the Lord knew I needed mending, and she helped me to find clarity.
Thankfully, the counselor knew me well enough in those four years, that she could probably hear the screams within or see in my eyes, oftentimes me saying in reluctance and embarrassment, Please Hug Me!
I love not having the deep yearning for love and acceptance of others. I can leave one that was or is like a mother figure, or perhaps maybe we do hug, but not feel the deep torment of the love and care needed in the loneliness felt, as I walk away. To accept myself, to care, to love, to know and that I am lovable, there is a freedom and a healing that I have never, ever experienced.
Mother’s Day brings many emotions for my own mom, those fill-in mothers in my life and for myself, as a mom.
Happy Mother’s Day to each of you as a mom. If you are a son or a daughter, and your mother is living, you need to contact her. If she has passed, you can still whisper or say, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Mom’s everywhere need to know they are not forgotten on this day.
This has been an emotional blog for me to write, as I have missed out on so many levels of love. Even though, the tears flow and I stop to mourn the loss between words, there is a joy within, as I am not the same person. As I look at my hands, my mother’s hands, they can hug that little girl within and bring comfort to the lack of love known so well, with the screams silenced, and healing to my mending heart day by day.
Sadly, I do not know what this is like between a mother and a daughter. What a great loss… for me but for mom, too.