At 19 I recognized the Hallmark card sentiments didn’t match the relationship my mother and I experienced. Her hard comments spoken without witness; the movable measuring stick to let me know how I performed in her eyes; the lack of spoken love or approval. Hard stuff for a sensitive kid like me.
People told me “how proud your mother is of you” but I didn’t hear those words. Later when I became a mother she found value in me for her grandson (and later grandsons). She wrote a note in my Mother’s Day cards telling me I was a good mom, but no spoken words were shared.
I lived with the echo of an empty Mom love tank for 50 years, trying to earn favor along the way and then 7 years ago she died . The empty tank echo bounces around in my heart; sometimes faint, sometimes loud. In the midst of a loud bounce recently I made a choice. On a plane ride across the country to spend Mother’s Day with my mother – in – law, I stopped my downward spiral of woeful thoughts & memories. Instead I forced myself to compile a list of 10 positive characteristics my own mother instilled in me.
Taking time to think things through
Love of Words
Love of Reading
Education & Life-long Learning
Love of Travel
Appreciation of Fashion
Care for those less fortunate than me
These are GREAT characteristics that I possess thanks to my Mother. In spite of not hearing the words or feeling she loved me, she invested in my growth & character in many ways.
Tool #1: speak what is True
Lies can blur Truth but Truth dispels lies.
She did care or she would not have instilled these traits in me. In spite of her influence I’m one of the Dream Followers and Servers that Glennon of momastery referred to way back in her blog history (two years ago). I am messed up and do not have it all put together. I laugh, cry and sometimes want to run away from my life. If I had it all put together I would forget where I put it because I’m post-menopausal now, so gray hair and foggy memory are a part of daily life. Oh Well.
Those are two words my dearest Hubster taught me to say 25 years ago after we married.
Tool #2: see what is True
Admitting mistakes as part of life frees the hold of shame.
I bear the marks of shame and of being not enough in my mother’s eyes.
Perhaps that is what has made my own mothering such a sacred gift: looking at my sons as MORE THAN ENOUGH helped me grow in identity: who they are, how they’re wired paired with who I am and who I am becoming.
Tool #3: cling to what is True and let go of the rest
The Way out of Shame has been a battle and I bear scars from other woundings along the Way. I’m working at letting go of the lie of perfectionism and learning to lean into the Truth that I am loved and have a place at the Table. Just. Because.
Philippians 4:8 spells these tools out: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.
Some days are harder than others. But I am learning to see myself as okay in this messy middle and fight back with JOY. There’s such great freedom in this posture.
Anybody want to come out and play?