I found this picture of me and my mother in the glove compartment of her car, in a small photo album filled with old pictures, a long long time ago. I remember thinking she looked so beautiful, like an angel or royalty.
I was separated from my mother at an early age, after my parents’ marriage ended. Young enough that she kind of became this dreamlike person to me, a foggy memory. I remember the day I was reunited with her and how unsure I was of who was standing in front of me. I can picture her now. Young and glowing, asking me if I knew who she was. I remember wanting to tell her that I knew she was my mother, but I was too afraid of possibly being wrong.
I have always loved finding pictures of my mother and I, especially ones where I was really small. They made her feel real to me. They made her love for me feel tangible. I would keep them and hide them like little treasures that were just for me and I didn’t want others getting their hands on them (this fear stemmed from a stepmother I had that constantly threw things away if they had anything to do with my mother).
It wasn’t until I was twelve that I decided I had enough of living in my father’s care and I moved in with my mother. And as an adult now I understand how hard it was for my mother to have to pick up the pieces of my broken life and take in another heart to love, mouth to feed, and child to raise. I walked into her home with two trash bags filled with my clothes and for years after I struggled to cope with the aftermath of my childhood. My mother always thought of me as nothing more than an emotional teenager, but never knew that I was struggling with healing.
My childhood was inconsistent, filled with lies and manipulation, child and sexual abuse, and feelings of abandonment. Knowing that now, I would never expect my mother to be able to successfully support me and redeem me.
But she tried. In all her ways she tried to show me what it looked like to raise three kids on a single paycheck. To be strong and self motivated. To believe in God. At an age where I thought hugs could heal me, she tried to teach me life instead. As I grow older, I appreciate my mother more and more. She was the hero I didn’t know I needed, rescuing me by pushing me to find my own strength.
I have experienced so much truth, and subsequently growth, in these last few years. Motherhood has enlightened me.To the truths of my childhood, to the strength of my mother, to the importance of being present, to the power of love and healing. I have learned to pick up the pieces of my broken life for myself. I am creating a new mosaic, something beautiful and colorful and life-filled, from those broken parts of me. Becoming a mother made me a better person. It made my dreams come true, but it also transformed my heart and my life. I am not who I used to be, and that is the greatest gift motherhood could ever give me.
I have newfound strength, hope, healing, I have truth, and I have love.
Happy Mother’s Day.