Disclaimer: This is not a “poor me” post; I’ve CHOSEN a more positive life.
At 12, it’s typical to start rebelling against your mother.
At 18, it’s typical to ignore all the advice your mother gives you about college choices.
At 25ish, it’s typical to START believing that your mother might actually know what she is talking about.
At 30ish, it’s typical to admit you enjoy your mother’s company and ask for advice, help and opinions about raising kids. Eventually, becoming best friends.
But what do you when those typical moments are denied to you because your mother chose suicide over her family. (That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever written down on paper.)
I never got to go to a mother/daughter brunch. I never got to go on a mother/daughter shopping trip for the perfect prom or wedding dress. I never got to ask her about her pregnancies. I will never get to become annoyed because she is spoiling my kids. I will never get to complain to my friends that she is driving me crazy. I will never get to tell Avery that my mother drove me crazy too, but eventually we became best friends. The last six years have been more difficult than the previous 14 combined, because I don’t think I truly grasped the “heartache” of not having a mother until I became a mother myself.
Again, this is not a “poor me” post. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy. There have been many times that I’ve wanted to scream “uncle” and soak in my pity party, but what would that accomplish. Nothing!!! It would not change the fact that I don’t have a mom. Let me stop here and say I have been surrounded by love, and I thank God for all the people that did an amazing job of patching the hole that was ripped open. I have amazing friends and family, a wonderful husband, and even better kids that help me choose to live a happy life.
After I had Avery, I started having anxiety and panic attacks about if I was doing everything the “right way”. It took me a while (and a short term prescription of Zoloft) to get back to CHOOSING to be a better mom. This is when not having a mom was the worst. I kept thinking I should have her support and advice. I should be able to call her to help me when I needed a break. My husband helped me realize that the idea of a “Perfect Mom” is ridiculous and that I was the perfect mom for our family. I eventually had to overcome the idea that “being a mother without a mom” would not define my family. I am certainly not the picture perfect mom. I yell. I overreact. I cry. But I also take any and all measures to CHOOSE happiness and that makes me the perfect mom for Avery and Bennett.
I find joy in the happiness of those around me. I’m not a jealous person. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been jealous that someone has a good relationship with their mother. As long as I can remember, I’ve made mental notes of good mother/child bonds that I would like to emulate in my own mother/child relationship when the time came.
Another huge factor in my CHOOSING to be happy that I can’t ignore is the counseling that I have attended sporadically over the last 20 years. At first, I hated every minute of it because I was forced to go because of my mom’s death. Eventually, I realized that no one should ever be ashamed to ask for help. My various counselors have played a pivotal role in helping me identify destructive behaviors and the irrational expectations I put on myself. I can not say enough about the strength and courage it takes to pick up that phone and call someone in the hopes to improve your life. One should never be ashamed OR feel guilty OR feel like a failure when they ask for help. The true failure is living a negative life and relying on others to fill your bucket.
My promise to my children is that I will always CHOOSE to be better than my situation. I’ve learned that regardless of your past and circumstances, YOU are responsible for CHOOSING to lead a healthier, more positive life.