Yesterday I found myself telling the story of how my mom courageously took my sister and I away from my actively drinking, alcoholic, and bi-polar father, divorcing him and creating a new life for all of us. I was 3 years old when she left him and, looking back, I see how her mama bear fierceness put us all on a new trajectory. I am forever grateful for. I think of how she raised us as a single mother, commuting long distances to get her degree while she was sick with Lyme’s Disease. I think of the resources she fought for as we grew up and all the ways we didn’t know we were poor. There are many heart-breaking and heroic stories growing up that I hope to share in the form of a book someday. These stories led me to where I am today.
This Mother’s Day, I celebrate this mother of mine who loved me extravagantly and imperfectly. I celebrate my wife, who shows us everyday what a nurturing, protective, and courageous mother she is to our sweet, energetic boys. I also take a moment to acknowledge those for which Mother’Day is a time of difficult emotions and memories. If that is you, I invite you to read this powerful piece by Mari A. Lee, LMFT, CSAT called “Not Every Daughter Celebrates Mother’s Day” (trigger warning: some disturbing content). I also recommend finding some support. Childhood wounds such as these need our attention. I know this from experience personally and professionally. Childhood trauma work goes hand in hand with recovery work.
Whether you celebrate Mother’s Day with joy or wish you could escape it, I wish you a wonderful day of self-care and connection.
As we heal from all of life’s hurts may we learn to Mother ourselves with extraordinary patience, care, and compassion.
Forest Benedict, LMFT, SATP
PS: If you’re a male in recovery, this will be the topic of my free online discussion group tonight. Join us!