Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Mothers' Day

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.

14 comments:

Angela said...

Isn't it wonderful that all wise elder woman can be our "adopted" mothers? Thank you for this post, O and Happy Mother's Day to you. Do those stepkids have any idea what they're missing out on??

Kikipotamus said...

Wow, Olivia, I see so much healing going on in you. When you said your mother resented the pregnancy that was you, I immediately thought of the book Eastern Body, Western Mind. The chapters on 1st chakra damage talk about the lifelong effects of being unwanted as early as in the womb.

How WONDERFUL that you have found other mothers.

Happy Mother's Day!

laundrygirl said...

Happy Mother's Day to you. Here's to a nurturing day full of peace and sweetness.

Kate I said...

I love that you're nuturing and mothering the wounded girl within...I think everyone, no matter how well they were parented, has some healing to do and who better to do it than the person that child has grown into.

Happy Mother's Day Olivia to the nurturer in you...enjoy your special day in Seattle.

GreenishLady said...

What a very wise and loving post. I think we can be spiritually mothered or mothers , and you have found that out. I love that you are honouring the mothering around you, and that you have given yourself the gift of the name "Mom" today is very fitting. Enjoy.

Patti said...

It is true someone doesn't need to be a biological mother to be a mother to you. Anyone who cares and guides, nurtures and loves can be a Mom. You are lucky to have that person in your life.

I agree with Angela that your step kids are so missing out on a potentially special relationship with you.

Happy Mother's Day Olivia.

Lori-Lyn said...

Your posts are always so lovely in their honesty and grace and this one moved me deeply.

Scott said...

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day Olivia. I hope that it was a special day for you and that you were able to enjoy it.

Much Love,
Scott

Kate said...

Olivia,

I am so glad to hear that you have found other mothers in your life. I hope you had a great time in Seattle.

Kate

Olivia said...

Thank you to everyone who left such wonderful comments for me.

Angela, you're right and I'm grateful for all wise women, that's for sure. And no, my stepkids don't have a clue. Period.

Kelly, thank you for affirming healing in me. I am striving for this. I'll blog more about this soon.

Thank you Kristine. I did have a peaceful and sweet day :)

Kate I, thank you as well. Your Mother's Day video was precious and inspirational to me.

Imelda, yes, thanks. I wore my necklace yesterday and really enjoyed feeling like I was coming into my own by acknowledging what I've tried to do, even if my children don't.

I am certainly so blessed, Patti. I'm excited to be able to visit and share and catch up this summer too :) Thank you, Patti, and the same to you.

Thank you Lori-Lyn. It's always so good to see you here. I still miss your daily videos :)

Oh, thank you Scott. It was a good day. And it's especially good to hear from you. You've shown me what a special relationship with a young person can be like.

Thank you, Kate. I did. I hope you had a great day as well.

Love and peace and joy to each and every one of you. It is so good to hear from you all on Mother's Day.

Much love,

O

Karen said...

and all the 'mothers' in your life have given us--YOU! Definitely a blessing.

Olivia said...

Thank you Karen!! What a sweet surprise...much love, O xxoo

Jane said...

Thanks for this lovely post!

Olivia said...

You're welcome, Jane! Thank you for coming to visit, and for saying hey with a comment :) Peace, O xxoo