Mother's Day is normally quite a tough day for me. My biological mother is deceased, but I have very few good memories of her. I'm thinking that there must have been some---there have to have been some---but I just don't remember them now, unfortunately. It's been over 27 years since she died, and the painful memories seem to be all that is left, which is sad, I think. She never wanted to be a mother, never wanted to have me...she felt that I kept her from her dream of being a teacher. She didn't believe in abortion, and in those days (over 50 years ago), you'd have to drop out of college if you became pregnant. Then in subsequent years, she was left alone as my father served in Vietnam multiple times and on other overseas trips as well. She was in such pain that she hit and verbally abused all of us three children for years and years. She never found or made new dreams for herself. I cannot imagine the frustration and misery that she lived with day in and day out that would cause her to act in this way. She always wanted to die more than anything else, and tried to take her own life before she...at last...died right before her 45th birthday of leukemia.
My stepchildren do not acknowledge me as a mother...or sometimes, I think, even as a person or a human being. I think that stepmothers should have a special day to honor them for loving and raising children who are not theirs and often who do not love or respect them. It takes a special grace to be a stepmom and to put your stepchildren's needs in the forefront...especially when you don't have that parental bond of love that naturally takes place between mother and child. So here's to all stepmothers, today!!
I have been incredibly blessed with a special "hanai" (Hawaiian for "adopted") mother, Rose Marie.
She has mothered me for years, and is visiting me this August for my birthday. I haven't seen her in seven years, and I am SO excited.
In addition, I have a lovely mother-in-law, Betty, who is now a widow, and who is sweet and kind and loving.I also know many wonderful mothers of my generation and younger too, who inspire me and show me how to love.
I think that if we look we can always find strong and loving women from whom we can learn and from whom we can receive love. I think that we can also learn to mother ourselves and to give ourselves what we were not given as children.
In writing my present book, the one about Moku`ula (in Hawaii...the archaeological site), my co-writer, Akoni suggested that I investigate my heritage and genealogy. One's heritage and one's ancestors are very important to native Hawaiian people. At first I was...repelled...I pondered this for a time, wondering how I could possibly be interested in doing this. I've spent years trying to put the pain and legacy of my upbringing and my wounded and dysfunctional heritage behind me.
Someone wise then said to me that our parents and grandparents can sometimes be our most powerful teachers in showing us what we do not want, what to avoid. This softened my grief and helped me to look with an open heart at what the people who came before me might have lived to teach me, to pass on. To look at what they might have said could they have articulated their pain, too. It was a healing process...so...
I want to keep my heart open this Mother's Day. LoveHubbie and I are planning to celebrate, going to Seattle and to my now favorite restaurant---Impromptu! LoveHubbie bought me a gorgeous vase of roses and lilies today. I got myself a little necklace that says "mom" on it, with a dove and a little crystal. It's the first thing I've ever had that says "mom" on it.
We are here to learn (I believe) and I have certainly learned a lot from my biological mother Geraldine, my hanai mother Rose Marie, and my mother-in-law Betty. I continue to learn from the peer-mothers I know, too.
Mothering is so complex. Love. Pain. But underneath, if we look for it...is blessing.
Blessings and love to all mothers today.