How I Found My Own Mother on Mother's Day

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Mother’s Day isn’t supposed to hurt. It’s about celebrating your mom and thanking her for being there for you. But what if she was never there for you? Or what if she has passed away? And what if once a year, you're reminded of this painful truth?

I once hated Mother’s Day. First I hated it because I could never find a present that made my mother happy. One year I ran around a huge flea market for four hours in the heat of Texas summer sun trying to find her that perfect gift. I panicked because there didn’t seem to a gift that was just right, so I bought her a designer label robe. I put the purchase on a credit card because I didn’t have the money to pay for it. She never wore it.

I also hated Mother’s Day because it reminded me that my mother was toxic to me. She was a wounded mother who was unable to even say the word “love” to me. I stopped speaking to her more than 15 years ago, so the silence of Mother’s Day was deafening.

muffin top

Image: Nina Hale on Flickr

I stopped hating Mother’s Day the day I poured all of my love into a woman I choose to become my mother once I was an adult. I no longer fear the month of May and all the unhappy reminders of mothers; I look forward to it. I especially love picking out a present for my chosen mother, Pat, because she so appreciates it. She appreciates me.

If you're hurting this Mother’s Day, look around you. You may know a mother who has lost a daughter to death or mental illness or family strife. Reach out and send a sweet card to her. Or, if you're the mothering type (we need more like you!), send a card or bake some cookies for a younger woman you sense is un-mothered.

I wish our culture could learn to be more sensitive about the pain that exists between so many mothers and daughters. I wish we could hand out motherly love on every street corner for one Sunday each May. That would make a terrific Mother’s Day giveaway. Since we can’t, give love to someone you know who's in pain because of their mother. Love is free and easy to give, if you're brave enough to risk rejection. The people who need love the most are sadly the people most often to reject it. Keep trying. Maybe next year you can really celebrate Mother’s Day with your newfound chosen daughter or mom.

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