Ever have a holiday, anniversary, or milestone that just leaves you zoned out, melancholy or just without words?
Well, most family holidays are like that for me, but Mother's day and my birthday are probably the toughest. My birthday usually lands on Mother's day weekend and I was my mother's first child at the age of 15. Up until the last minute, I was considered for abortion and my father denied me as his own. I don't know what it feels like to have a loving and nurturing mom. I've seen it in the movies, my friends' families, and dreamt about it for my future family, but never have I truly felt that unconditional bond or nurturing your get from hugging your mom, having her call you once a week to make sure you're alive, a mom that nags you about your latest dating stories, a mom who wants to help you through your hardships, failures, and successes, a mom that is proud to be a mom, a mom that loves who I am, a mom that protected me from strangers and violence, a mom that hugged us and told us she loved us, a mom that wanted to know about your day, a mom that wanted to make memories not wounds. I don't know this mother. I don't know this father. I know a mother who was a single mom, struggling with bi-polar disorder and alcoholism. I know a mother who dropped me off at a foster home when things got too tough. I know a mother that made it clear that we were a burden on her life. This isn't a share about all the horrible things that happened to me or a cry for pity, but a way to be my honest true self and share a different perspective on Mother's Day. We all have a different story that needs to be shared.
My Role Models
Since a young age I knew that the only way to survive was to surround myself with positive people and do my best to create a better life. I connected with teachers, ambitious friends and other role models that inspired me to achieve my goals. The time spent with my grandmother, my aunt and the adults that believed in me and cheered me on in grade school were a crucial part of who I am and how I survived a chaotic childhood.
The Family I Adopted...
At age 16, I met my first mentor while developing a non-profit dance group for youth and gained her family (a brother, sister and dad). She has loved me the best way she could, given she has kids of her own, and gave me a beautiful example of family. She often calls me her "surrogate daughter". It has been one of the greatest blessings in my life to have love and a positive family experience, but there will always be reminders that I don't quite make the cut as a true family member, daughter or sister. Something I've had to accept as a got older.
One of my greatest saving graces for finding a sense of purpose and unconditional love was when I became a dog mom to my dog Chloe. It's the purest bond I've ever had that feels consistent, safe, and unwavering. That feeling of "you're stuck with me because we're family". That sense of belonging and forever togetherness gives me hope.
We all have a story, we all have to pull it together (family or no family) and create our own support system in order to live and be our best self. I'm grateful that I've been able to find a sense of belonging within myself, my fur kid and in the friends I believe truly love and appreciate who I am, messy and all.
We all deserve to be loved.
Of course, when I see all these posts about how wonderful everyone's mom/family is, I see that there is hope, but can't help but wonder what it would be like to feel that true unconditional nurturing mother love. It's human nature to not wonder this. Many people like me, who have broken families, abusive experiences, parentless homes, etc., have to work really hard at feeling accepted, worthy, loved unconditionally, a sense of belonging. Feeling worthy and a sense of belonging has been the hardest obstacle I've faced in my life (which is probably why I've mentioned it a million times in this post). I write this because not matter what your family history or current support system is, know that true love and nurturing comes from within.
If any of this relates to you I would love to learn more about your unique story and what a mom is for you. If you read all the way through this post, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to hear and value my story.