I want to wish a happy Mother's Day to all mothers as today is a day to celebrate mothers - all mothers. But I also want to wish all a day of healing and hope, as today is not always a happy day. Because if I am to be blunt and honest right now, I have to tell you that Mother's Day has not been the happiest or easiest day in my life....ever, not even today. And my assumption is for many children in foster care or who have been adopted, it is not an easy day filled with just happiness either.
As a child growing up, Mother's Day was not a clear cut simple celebration for me. There was a lot of confusion based on the year, where I was in my life (both physically and emotionally), who I was living with, and what my relationship was with my mom.
I had many mother figures throughout my life and still do. For many years my most dominant mother figure was my grandma (but rarely as it turned out was I with her on Mother's Day, as even during the times she raised me it never seemed to fall over Mother's Day. Yet she is the first person I think of when I wake up on Mother's Day and I grieve her every Mother's Day as she is now passed on). Then for a bit (after my grandma passed) the most dominant mother figure in my life was my aunt, then for a while it was other women (friend's moms, a few mentors), but also there was my mom. And sometimes, for me, it was hard to celebrate any mother figure in my life, as I could not always celebrate my mom (it was just not always a happy situation) and I could not celebrate my other mother figures (because the guilt of them being a stronger mother figure than my mom for so many years was just too hard). As an adult, I still struggle with Mother's Day, as the hurt and confusion is still there. But over the years, healing has occurred and I can honor all my mother figures now.
This has been important for me, especially now as an adoptive mom, because Mother's Day takes on a whole different level of difficulty. Now I am a mom to my daughter, who needs me to help guide her through this extremely confusing and sometimes very painful day. My daughter has me as her forever mom now, but before me she had her birth mom and the women who took care of her until we adopted her. For her, all of her moms/mother figures are important, as they all have been her primary mother figure at some point in her life. So as an adoptive mom, it is important that I remember to honor these other women on this Mother's Day for her, as well as for me. It is not easy, but it is still important. I can never replace the other moms/mother figures in her life and they can never be forgotten. It is something that is sometimes overlooked for many of children and teens in care or who have been adopted.
Some celebrate birth moms on the day before Mother's Day, but for me this does not work because it just doesn't. So today we honored all the moms/mother figures in our lives.... we picked a flower (some people burn candles but we do not do anything with flames in our home) for each mother figure in our lives and put the flowers in a vase together (not just those from my life or our daughter's but also one for my husband's mom who has also passed on) as for us family is made up of all different moms/mother figures.
I would not be me without all of my moms/mother figures nor would our daughter be our daughter without all her moms/mother figures. And I cannot be the best mom for my daughter if I did not honor all her other moms/mother figures. So today we celebrated many happy moments together as a family, on my first Mother's Day as a mother. But also today, on this Happy Mother's Day, I cried first thing in the morning for grief and sadness for all the moms/mother figures who used to be in my life but no longer are, and when our girl shared she was sad, we honored that as well, even if she does not know why she is sad. And that is ok because although Mother's Day is a "happy" day, it can have other feelings tied into it too or even other more dominant feelings, because that is what is needed to bring hope, healing and understanding for so many.