By Marcee Murray King
Some of us had mothers that just sucked.
Maybe they really tried and missed the mark. Maybe they didn’t try. Maybe they gave us away, put themselves first, abused us with words or fists, neglected us, molested us.
As one who spent my life trying to not be like my mother, always worrying about each thing I did, desperately trying to be a “perfect” parent without an example, I never feel very comfortable with this day.
When my now-adult children tell me they love me and thank me on this day, it feels awkward. Do they mean it? Is it forced? Just how badly did I screw it up, and how much of this is kindness on their part, knowing I constantly second guess myself?
With my mother dying just two months ago, my main feeling this year on Mother’s Day is relief. After 52 years, she is finally gone and I am free at last! And, immediately, there is the second-guessing: How free am I, really? How much of my life am I still allowing to be controlled by my past with her?
It has been an interesting time since she died. I am feeling a sense of worthiness for the first time in my life. A worthiness not earned, but a worthiness that is inherent in me, in us all. I am also—not to invoke pity, but to finally own my past—truly acknowledging to people what she did to me and who I am in spite or because of it: powerful, resilient, loved. Worthy.
I am not a secret keeper any longer.
I am grateful to her for my sense of adventure, for my creativity, for my cooking skills. Learning to forgive her was hard, and after one of our many jags of years of not speaking, this last nine year-one ended with me—for two years—every day repeating a mantra that led me to forgiveness of her:
Thank you for giving me life.
Photo: Michael Ciarleglio/Flickr
Editor: Dana Gornall
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