Friday, May 6, 2011

Early Morning Mother Blues

It's one of those mornings - way too early to really be up and about. One moment I was in a deep sound sleep and the next moment, wide awake with stories itching to be told. The thing is: the stories were all jumbled and messed up within one another. 

Random jumbled parental messages:

Mother's Day is coming and this will be the first one that my mother's physical presence won't be here.  
It is bittersweet. My father died on Fathers Day when I was 10 and so I always hated celebrating an event that brought such ripping pain into my very young life.To this day, I hold a special place for my anxiety as the day approaches and I try to find it in my heart to honor the father of my children, but the truth is that each year takes me back to being 10 and sad and feeling abandoned.                            
I had my mother for 89 years and  we did our best to honor her and make her feel special. It would be nice to say that I lived in a perfect functional family but that would be untrue, so, rarely were all of the siblings together from the time that I was 13 and her honoring was fractured at best. She was blessed with a great deal of narcissism which meant that if somehow the day wasn't special enough, she had guilt to bundle up and send with you at the door. In her later years, she was more open to being loved and so to be fair, her last two Mothers Days were gentler in many ways.
There is more to my story though. In 1980, days before Mothers Day, I gave birth to a stillborn - Christina. She was delivered as I was heading toward full blown toxemia and she never breathed a breath of fresh air. I didn't really mourn her but I carried her with me always in a little pouch in my heart and occasionally the lid opens and I once more share the shock of losing something so precious. How do you share Mothers Day when your body failed you? That was a question that I had no energy to answer. Being a stoic has its good and bad days.
A couple of years later, another Mothers Day rolled around and very excitedly I was waiting to feel the warmth and glow of the Hallmark moment since I was now a mom to a beautiful son. What I didn't realize was that since he was just an infant, he couldn't go to the store and get a card - silly me. My husband's comment was "I am not your child - I have a Mother and that is who I honor on this day" or something like that. It is great that I can laugh at it today because in that moment, he sort of looked like 'dead man walking' and at this moment he is lying in the next room snoring blissfully away, oblivious to the fact that his existence is still a miracle. Our marriage is going on into it's 32nd year. We have found ways to handle our inabilities to honor these Hallmark Days without hurting one another.
And so, that's what all this means to me. Everyday should be a day of honoring our parents and our children. We shouldn't need to have one day of the year carved out that might bring joy to some but so often brings sadness and hurt. I think of all my friends who have lost children and parents and can't help but feel that there is just a bit more sadness on the day when they can't touch, see or hear the one who isn't there while everyone else is celebrating. I think of the children who can't afford even the crayons and paper needed to self create a card for their mom or dad and there won't be a special meal when most days there is hardly food at all.
Bitter, bitter sweet!

Other Mother Blues:

Lately, the federal and state governments have been all over our bodies - women's bodies, that is. In their attempts to protect the unborn, they are putting in place all sorts of egregious measures intended to humiliate and alienate women when they are faced with one of the single most important decisions of their life. I am old enough to remember the days of illegal abortions. Women still got them - they just took their life in their hands to do it. Some of the women committed suicide - some were maimed for life. Those were the days that we as a moral and just nation cannot return to. Whatever we feel about pro-life or pro-choice, the bottom line is that no one, no government should be able to force another human to do something they do not feel that they can do. We never talk about the responsibility of the men as we close the doors on the women. We never talk about the financial support the woman will need to carry a child to birth. We never talk about the financial support that the woman will need to raise a child. We never talk about what kind of courage it would take to give birth to a child who wasn't conceived in a loving, caring relationship. And we don't like to talk about the effects on a society about children being born to crack addicts. No, we just like to tell women to grin and bear it and handle it yourself. When will we start talking about responsible male behaviour that prevents the unwanted pregnancy in the first place. Women do not get pregnant alone. I know this is a rant and I will probably post it unedited because it just feels like it needs to be said. We need, as women and mothers and daughters, to stand up for each other and pray like hell that an abortion isn't a choice anyone needs to make but if it is, we need to tell everyone else to mind their own damn business. This is what really woke me up this morning.

Closing off to find some rest - one agitated momma.


  1. Sharon: I've never made a big deal of holidays or birthdays however we do try to celebrate it with at least a meal however now that I've lost Michael, it is definitely different. No one says it's different because Michael is no longer with us however we all feel it. Holidays and birthdays were always family days and now it is clear, our family has changed. Enjoy your mother's day by taking yourself out to celebrate yourself even if your children or spouse don't want to honor you. You deserve it. Treat yourself.

  2. Sharon: I lost both my grandmothers on that year's respective mothers day. My own mother waited, choosing a less auspicious day to pass beyond her physical presence. No matter when or how, we remember with that bittersweet joy and sadness. I agree with Nancy: it's mother's day. It has nothing to do with the hubby. In fact, leave him home, and go somewhere special; find a spot where you can honor yourself for being a giver of life (The soul's choice not to enter this realm has nothing to do with you), find some other wonderful women to be with and celebrate. As for other blues ... somewhere back in time we allowed men to unseat us (Mists of Avalon speaking here) and most of us have forgotten that we had the power, the creativity and the love and we still have it today. Your voice keeps that alive for us and awakens more and more of us each and every day.

  3. Nancy and Linda, thank you both so much for your words. I realized as I climbed back in bed that May 6th was the day I lost little Christina. It isn't a conscious thing but somehow this day of the year is when I open the little pouch and allow us time together. Nancy, I was thinking of you as I wrote, knowing some of the pain but surely unable to ever hold it in the same way that you know it. You are indeed a very strong woman who embraces the great feminine divine and I am sure that helps you through. Linda, I always love what you have to say. It is time to reread the Mists.

  4. Sharon
    Ah ... the synchronicity of the May 6th date and your early morning posting resonates mightily with similar yet unrelated bits of 'surprise' in my own life around totally different issues. I'm glad you didn't 'edit' yourself for what you wrote NEEDS to be addressed openly and speaking truth from the heart is essential for healing to occur. Methinks it's time for humanity to engage in meaningful discussions of what matters and let go of trivial distractions that numb us to life's experiences.

    As you may recall, my own mom died in 1989 when I was 44 (suddenly and unexpectedly) about 14 years after my dad passed away so both holidays have pretty much lost meaning for me in the past few decades. They were (after all) created by Hallmark to sell cards & gifts and have always seemed rather 'commercial' in nature to me. My family tended to spend most Sundays together throughout the years so we didn't really NEED a 'special' day to honor mom or dad. We did that all year long even after stores decided to open on Sundays making 'shopping' a new tradition ... one I'm relieved that I didn't adopt. Since I'm not a 'mom' myself, I've never had the 'other side' of the holiday to consider, but I do love to celebrate with my sister by visiting a local annual art & craft fair in a nearby beach town ... something we've done together for decades creating many happy memories.

    I've been reading THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION by Brene Brown and the following quote comes to mind: "If we stop long enough to create a quiet emotional clearing, the truth of our lives will invariably catch up with us." Methinks taking advantage of these experiential life openings to examine what is mindfully is the very thing that allows us to both 'embrace our vulnerabilities in the face of anxiety' and 'work to amplify our strengths and competencies' (to use more of Brene Brown's words) ... and in so doing we remember who we are and why we're here then focus on our heart's wisdom to lead the way foward.

    I concur with Linda and Nancy! If you didn't live on the other side of the nation I'd come celebrate the day with you gratefully in whatever way you choose to remember all connections with motherhood.
    Hugs and blessings,

  5. I actually read this last week, but it moved me so much I wasn't able to comment. I needed to think about it. I still don't have anything deep or coherent to say, just an overwhelming feeling of "oh, Sharon"--and a deep wish that I could give you a long hug.

    But I will say this--it made me want to rush off and hug my own mother and child....

  6. Sharon I wrote a long comment around mother's day and then when I tried to post it I wasn't signed into my google account and in the confusion the whole thing got lost. Somehow it felt like it just wasn't meant to be.
    I hope you'll keep writing and posting. I'm reading....I'm sending you hugs and creative blessings.

  7. Hi Sharon!

    I couldn't find your email address, so I hope you get this.

    I printed my "love notes" on plain white card stock and then cut them out with a scissors :)

    I'm so glad you like them and I would love to hear more about where you spread your kindness!

    Big, big hugs to you (and a virtual note of encouragement to you as you spread joy wherever you go this week)!