Mother’s Day. Not joyful for me when I think about my own mother. I started to become very aware of her abuse around the time I was turning 16 years old, which happened to be the same time we moved from another country where we had servants who did housework and made meals, meaning that my mother kind of lived her own life apart from her kids. I remember being detached from her for as long as I can remember – as if I was always on the outside looking in. The abuse – manipulations, degradation, humiliations and ridicule – became more apparent at 17 and then at 18. At these ages, it got hard choosing appropriate and truthful Mother’s Day cards.
At the age of 26 I became a Christian. This is when I was determined to love this woman into loving me – but the more I tried, the more she rejected me – although I am sure from her perspective, she’d have a much different story to tell that would paint me with a tarnished brush. When she’d attack me with her hatefulness, there were times where I would stand up for myself – when I did this, she made sure I was ‘put in my place’ by stepping up the abuse. She viewed my standing up to her as disrespect and I was never disrespectful when I stood up to her, but I did speak my mind. ‘Loving her into loving me’ did not work. It backfired … its when I came to the very painful realization that nothing I could ever do or say would ever make her love me.
Mother’s Day was ‘worship mother’ day and if enough wasn’t done for her on that day – the big sulk came. I hated it. I hated having to buy a gift that she likely wouldn’t like. I hated going along with the facade. I hated to have to pick out a card. It’s put a sourness in Mother’s Day even for myself with my own children. If my kids do something for me on Mother’s Day I am truly grateful and I try to make it enjoyable for them even though I don’t make a big deal about it.
Mother’s Day is just a wicked reminder to me that I was rejected by my mother. I was not loved by my mother – her actions screamed that very well. It’s a reminder of sadness and grief of never knowing a mother’s love, affection, and nurturing. It’s a day where many painful memories surface.
It’s a day where I also reflect on the chains of abuse that have been broken, where I have made a conscious choice to not mother my kids in any way like my mother did. I did everything different. Everything. I tell my kids I love them all the time. I am affectionate with my kids. I love being with them.
My mother could not wait to move me out of her house when I finished high school – she actually moved me out of her house calling me ‘lazy.’ … I am not looking forward to my kids leaving. I know they have to – and I want them to live the lives they are called to live – but my heart fills with sadness at the thought of it. My mother moved me out and two weeks later she wanted me to move back! After I asked why, she said, “Well, now I know whose been doing all the work.” I looked at her like she was crazy – she called me lazy even though she made me clean her house every Saturday! Of course I was not moving back!!!
I will never, ever understand how a mother cannot love her children. Growing up I was conditioned to believe that love was an earned thing and perfection was the condition. Trouble was her height of perfection could never be achieved or obtained. Her ‘love’ was always out of reach. True love does not do that. I have made it as clear as I can to my kids that I will always love them no matter what – no matter what mistakes they make or bad things they do – I will still always love them. (My mother would threaten to disown me if I did anything to embarrass her – it was made clear to me that I was disposable – children are not disposable!) No one is perfect and no one should have to work at being perfect in order to earn love. Real love is never earned.
On this upcoming Mother’s Day (ten days from now) I can celebrate motherhood with the knowing that I am a far better and more loving mom than my mother was to me. Don’t get me wrong – I am far, far, far from perfect … but as the Bible says, ‘love covers over a multitude of sins.’
So … maybe this year … I will celebrate abuse broken, I will celebrate my own kids in that I feel, and am so privileged and honoured that God let me be their mom. I love them so much … I hope they know!!!! I know God has great plans for their lives!!
~ Saoirse Quill