The first half of the year, for me, is full of emotional landmines. Really, November to May. So most of the year. I do look forward to the day after Mother’s Day because it means that I’m not obligated to interact with my mother out of some sense of duty. It is no secret that I’ve struggled with my relationship with my mother, mostly stemming from the years from my 10th grade year until…well now, I guess.
Up until the point where she went to the psychiatric unit at the hospital after Christmas that year, things were mostly normal. I was firmly in the middle, I wasn’t the oldest, I wasn’t the quirky younger or the cute youngest. I always felt that but I gave myself enough opportunities to prove my worth outside of maternal praise that it didn’t really matter on a day to day basis.
After my sophomore year though, the relationship changed in a fundamental way, really with both of my parents, into one that couldn’t really be defined as a parent-child relationship but more like caretaker for two adults whose lives were falling apart around them.
Anyway, over the years of missed opportunities for reconnecting, missed performances, missed weddings, missed everything, I had reached a point where I thought things were at an equilibrium. I was able to email or call once every couple of months without crashing for a few days after. Well, Friday didn’t do much for me in that department.
A kid at work Friday was really upset about their dad not showing up for a class performance. I’d heard them talking about how mean he was going to be about the performance and he would probably make fun of her for it. While I was walking them back to my office to talk about it away from the crowd, this phrase popped into my head. I talked to them about doing things for themselves and how it was their dad’s loss and instead of giving him the power to decide how they felt, they should do a fantastic job and when/if there is the typical excuse, just say “I was amazing, too bad you missed it.” Then I told them this phrase. You are worth showing up for. And I told them my mother didn’t show up to my wedding.
I spent most of Saturday in what I call a “funky” place. Post show blues, rainy day blues, a brief depressive episode. I went about most of my routine, running until I felt like it wasn’t helping, spending time with my kids, going for a drink with a friend and deciding that I am worth showing up for myself. And while my life isn’t necessarily amazing, it is mine and it is too bad she missed it.
Happy Mother’s Day.