Mother’s Day, according to the ever reliable Wikipedia, is a day honoring the mother of the family, motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. Mother’s Day is most commonly celebrated in March or May. In the US Mother’s Day began in the early 20th century when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother but her plight to honor Mother’s Day began several years before. She created Mother’s Day Work Clubs when she was caring for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War to address public health issues. In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday. I won’t bore you with the details but eventually it became a holiday loosely recognized and then Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating it a holiday to be observed on the second Sunday of May. Ironically, the woman responsible for making it a holiday eventually Jarvis was arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting the holiday because she felt it became too commercialized. Now, it has been adopted worldwide on different days in different months with different traditions realized in its honor.
I remember my first Mother’s Day. It was the day after my first wedding. JoDee had stayed the night with my sister and my mother, which really meant my sister. My mother told me to take my time coming home because there was no rush, I would have plenty more Mother’s Days to come. Of course, like any newly married, woman who has been a mother for all of ten minutes, I ignored her advice and rushed home. And that was fine. We picked up JoDee and I’m sure we did something but I don’t remember what now. I have every single Mother’s Day artwork ever made at pre-school or elementary school for all three of my kids. Jay J made me a flower out of construction paper in a little pot. I kept it on a shelf for 10 years until the dog knocked it off one day and it broke. JoDee made me a bowl in ceramic class in high school, which I used yesterday. It has become too commercialized as of late, about presents and cards, and flowers (and I got the most beautiful bouquet from Jay J and Cinderella for Mother’s Day, I love them) which sometimes means we forget the whole purpose of the day. No, not to make awareness for public health issues, but to remind us to take a moment to appreciate and thank the mother that cares for you and loves you and puts your life before hers. Did we all do that yesterday? Hmmm. I doubt it. While scrolling on Facebook yesterday I couldn’t help but think in world with so many wonderful mothers’ how did we end up with so many rotten assholes? Shit, my depression is showing.
Let me start at the beginning. Let us start with the good, shall we? The good is I got an awesome robe and nightgown from my husband, a fabulous candle and card from my step-daughters, a bag of Lush supplies to last me a lifetime along with the best bouquet of flowers I have ever seen from Jay J and Cinderella and two strawberry plants and a catnip plant from Jared which he earned with his own money at his new job working with his Godfather. I am blessed. I’m honored. And I feel really loved. And like a giant selfish asshole, too. So that brings us full circle to the bad. The bad. It’snot bad. It’s depressing. I’m depressing. And probably ungrateful for the good. I am an asshole in a world full of assholes that is lucky to have those wonderful kids. Maybe it’s that JoDee’s addiction affects me in ways I don’t want to admit. Maybe it is more debilitating than I like to admit. Maybe it’s that I know what I am supposed to do, and I am supposed to say but it still sucks when she can’t make it home on Mother’s Day. Is it terrible to admit that my oldest, the one that made me a mother to begin didn’t come home and I was sad about it? I’m not mad or disappointed or even bitter. I’m sad. That’s it. It’s really not complicated or difficult to understand.
I’m not sad that I didn’t see her, or that her siblings all knew that I was sad and are probably mad that she didn’t show up. I’m sad for her. I’m sad that this is another rung lower in an addiction that is already gotten her to a pretty low point. I’m really sad because I’m pretty sure she can use that as excuse to hate herself more, which is exactly what addiction wants, so she stays put, right where she is. In active addiction. I’m sad because she tries to make it about me. The “You don’t want me there, but that’s ok, I understand” text is ridiculous. It’s so transparent. Of course she needs to feel like I am telling her not to come over so she doesn’t have to feel anything about not coming over. My request that she not come home banged up really isn’t an outrageous one. Though, if truth be told, I knew she wouldn’t be clean so maybe subconsciously I was telling her not to come over. No. That’s bullshit. I didn’t want to see her looking a mess. I also didn’t want her siblings to see her like that. I didn’t want to see her trying hard to talk to them and engage them while they ignored her or were polite only because of me. No one wants to see her like that. She doesn’t want to see herself like that, which is why she denies that she is using when we can see it all over her face. I know most people think that addicts lie to us to make it easier for them to use, but I don’t believe that. I believe that addicts lie about their use because they can’t admit it to themselves. If JoDee said it out loud, if she had to hear herself say she is using the weight of her own disappointment would be crushing.
The hard part is admitting I am sick too. Her addiction has a bomb radius of a million mother miles. No matter how far away from me she is, or how deep in addiction she is, I can still feel the blow. But it shouldn’t be that way. I shouldn’t feel blessed and cursed at the same time. How can I enjoy the blessings I have when I can feel the pain of my other child? If I pay attention to my other children, my addicted child will feel abandoned and see it as further proof positive that she is as worthless as she feels. If I pay attention to my addicted child, my other child will resent her more, and begin to resent me because they will feel like I abandoned them too. It’s a shitty situation. The whole thing is a shitty situation. There is no switch that a person can flip that turns off the hurt and worry and disappointment surrounding a loved ones addiction. I can not talk to her, or not let her move home, and I can make plans, and try to force myself to carry them out but it won’t change how I feel about it. Oh. It should, shouldn’t it? I think that’s the point. That for me to truly move forward, and not be sick, I have to come to a place that I understand and accept the situation for what it is and not feel bad about it.
Right. Ya because that might happen. It’s more likely that I will be sitting in a chair having my ear cut off by Michael Madsen while Stuck in the Middle with You plays in the background. And someone calls me Mr. Pink. And, if you get that movie reference we are probably soul mates.