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The Mother's Day Report: (I Didn't Cry!)

Maybe that should be it. I didn't cry. The End. If you're paying attention at all to social media, you know that Mother's Day isn't such a great day for a lot of people for a whole lot of different reasons. For some it's painful relationships with their own mothers, or loss--either of a mother or harder even, a child. For others, it's a painful reminder of what we don't have (the relationships with our kids that we envisioned when they were little). And for some, it's just the simple annoying fact that it's so commercialized. I would guess that there's a whole lot of people out there who can't really even pinpoint exactly why the holiday bothers them, but it does.



I know where my reasons lie in those options, but the fact is that it shouldn't matter why someone doesn't love or celebrate a particular holiday. You don't have to understand their reasons to honor their feelings and give them the space to celebrate (or not) in their own way.

For many of the last several years, I've spent the day not only trapped in my own trauma responses, trying to manage and pretend like it's just any other day and that maybe one of the six children that I either raised or had a large hand in raising would acknowledge me in some way, but also having to manage the responses that my responses were triggering in my then husband. It triggers me just to think about it. There was no room to try to manage my own expectations and trauma responses because I was having to manage someone else's--to convince them that my feelings were valid, even if they didn't make sense to them. It's exhausting. And then when you've spent the day like that--all knotted up like a raw nerve, defending your right to feel how you feel--and you get ready to crawl in bed at the end of the day--and you look at your phone one last time to see if just maybe you got a text from one of your children. But you didn't. So you cry...again. Dangit. Maybe next year.



This year was my next year. I have a part-time job outside of the home and requested to work on Mother's Day. Better than sitting around thinking about how much I hate Mother's Day. (Sidenote: I love my job and the people I work with). We spent a good 10 minutes in the back griping about Mother's Day--my feelings on the subject were well known. As we got the shop ready for the day, settling into our spots, I decided I'd do the desk--where I greet and check people in. The door is unlocked and the first two people through the door bound up to the window with an enthusiastic, "Happy Mother's Day!" UUUUUUGGGGGHHH. I literally thought to myself for about a half a second "OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?" but then I just laughed. Like, okay, Universe--I get it. About the same time I'm laughing to myself about it, one of my coworkers comes around the corner and she's laughing and I just shake my head and am laughing too. She says "Are you laughing about what I'm laughing about?" I said yes and she asked if I was sure I wanted to be up there. Yes. Apparently it is exactly where I needed to be. Exposure therapy.


The rest of the day was slow, but steady and filled with a mix of people who spoke not a single word about Mother's Day, to those that wished those of us that were mothers a "Happy Mother's Day". It really was wonderful. I spent the day with people that I have grown to love, doing something that I enjoy, and then came home to a partner that understands and respects my emotions and the needs I express around difficult days like Mother's Day and other holidays. I even called my mom on my way home (the last few years texts are about all I could muster).


At the end of the day, as I'm getting into bed, I think about what I'm going to do--I'm going to look at my phone just one more time. Maybe there's a text. There is not. But I did not cry. It's not that it didn't make me sad, disappointed, and all of the things that it always makes me feel, but this time I was given some space and I did some things differently, and I was supported the way I asked to be supported. It made all the difference.


I can't say that I'll ever be a fan of Mother's Day--too much water under that bridge maybe. Time will tell. I am thankful to be at a place in my life where I can see the bigger picture. I am thankful to have the space to try different things, and to be supported whether I end up laughing at the irony of the Universe and the way it plops you right down in front of the firing squad to face your demons, or crying into my pillow. Either outcome is okay.


This year, I didn't cry.










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