to the ones who have parented themselves…

I see you, beloveds, I see your grief and heartaches
as families gather around their matriarches.
I feel the tears as they slip out of the confines of your heart,
I hear the hollow thud of longing as the celebrations flash by.

This isn’t a day of celebration for a lot of us,
Grief and bitterness feels near the surface.
Mourning for those who lost their mothers,
But not just lost.
This is for those whose mothers’ scorned them,
Gnashing their teeth at their children,
Blaming them for the mothers’ mistakes.

The grief of us who had those mothers is loud and wailing today.
It feels like wave upon wave of sorrow tried to sweep us away.
We just wanted to be loved and seen and cared for.
But our worth was less than the dirt we walked on.
Invisible as the wind that dries up our tears.

We became the mothers we needed.
Mothering the grief and rawness in our hearts,
As the women who bore us turned their backs.
We have held that space, showing ourselves love and compassion.
Love and compassion our mothers were supposed to have given.

Mother’s day is always bittersweet for me. Some years it’s more bitter than sweet, and vice versa on other years. Yesterday was a more sweet than bitter year, and I am grateful for that. I am excited to meet someone whose example so far has been nothing short of amazing and beautiful and I can see the outcome of her care as a mother. I briefly thought of my own ex-mother yesterday, and felt nothing more than relief that she is no where near me and that I do not have to say anything to her.

I thought of my mother-in-law, and cursed her name. I have more resentment towards her and her cold-hearted self than my own birth mother. And that’s okay too. Neither of those women need to take up any space in my head. I still bear the marks of their wounds, and will for the rest of my life.

But when I think about those of us who have no mothers. Those of us whose mothers’ turned their backs on us. I think of how we’ve found each other and support each other through becoming parents ourselves. I think of how we have intentionally fought to end the cycles of abuse and neglect. I think of how we have re-parented ourselves as we have parented our children.

I see all of the things that I have cried with myself because my younger selves are just as scared and anxious as the toddler standing in front of me. My heart has broken so many times knowing that the way I am folding my child into my arms is what my mother should have done to me. I give my children comfort, stability, autonomy, and love not just because I didn’t get that as a child, but because I know how it feels to not have it and I want them to know they are worth my love and care no matter what.

Re-parenting oneself even without having your own children is already hard, and excruciating at times. Re-parenting oneself as a parent is one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. It is something I choose, and also didn’t, but that’s a story for another time. If you are still re-parenting yourself, know that I see you and I am holding space for you. The hard work is worth it, I promise.

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