Sunday, May 14, 2017

Reclaiming Mother's Day

I have a confession about Mother's Day.

Mother's Day always makes me feel awkward and kind of alone. Okay, that's not entirely true. Mother's Day is almost always great. Mother's *DAY* is full of cards from my kids and sweetness from my husband. I rarely have a bad Mother's Day anymore.

But there's this horrible process that I fight through almost every year. Maybe every year? I try not to dwell on it when it's over. The days leading up to Mother's Day are usually awful. Culminating in an eventual breakdown in front of my poor husband.

Here's the thing about me. If you've read my blog for long then you know that I've openly shared my story of depression. That seems emotional and deep-ish and vulnerable, right? The truth is, that kind of honesty - rather, the reaching of that kind of honesty, was tough. It wasn't immediately natural. So now that I've shared that raw and painful part of who I am, I deal with this nagging fear that any other "vulnerable" shares or stories that I might put out there will pile on to the existing narrative, painting me as a fragile human being -- someone who is emotional and broken.

And here's where that thing about me shows up. I'm actually not super emotional. I'm human and I have my moments, but my husband often tells me how... un-female? that I seem since I'm pretty logical and less led by emotions. I don't entirely buy into the whole "females are just so unbearably emotional" narrative but that's another subject. The exceptions to my control are things that appeal to my maternal instincts now that I have kids. Show me suffering and I am WRECKED. But yelling and stomping and losing my crapola? I really prefer to just get alone or have a conversation and sort stuff out. Yeah. Sorry. Just bear with me. I'm not bragging. You'll see.

Mother's Day lead-up screws with me like nothing else. I dread it for the entirety of pre-Mother's-Day May.

And I cannot stop it. My typical, logical, just-make-sure-the-house-is-clean-and-I'll-feel-better-about-things mentality runs away and waves at me from across some massive ocean placed right in the middle of LOL GOOD LUCK, USA.

There is no amount of logic or control that will save me. I don't think there's any amount of love that could save me from it either just yet.

My Mom was abusive.

I have to sit for a beat after I write that. Someone will get upset. Candi said the a-word. Yeah. I did. The mental games and the physical altercations, although less frequent than the mental jacking, were real. They happened to me.

I haven't seen my mom in something like three and a half years. My kids do not see her. I know what she has done to me and some of what she has done to others. I know the things that she has said and continues to say about myself and my siblings. The threats. The always-deniable threats and horrible things.

Mother's Day screws with me. What terrible lottery meant that I didn't deserve a mother who adored me? Why am I still so dang tender there after all of these years? I have so much. That's the internal dialogue that I live with. I should be okay. I should be fine by now. I should be over it.

This brings me to the only reason why I'm putting my fingers on the keyboard and talking today. Speaking the truth though my virtual voice shakes.

It feels like no one else feels this pain surrounding Mother's Day. And just to be clear - I had an awesome Mother's Day today. As usual, the day is great. But the lead-up was terrible.

I am not broken. I am not pathetic. I am not fragile. I remind myself of this all of the time. Pain is universal, although the catalyst for that pain varies so widely. Some scars stay tender.

I am not sad today. I am grateful. But I'm going to speak the truth. Sometimes mothers hurt us, too. Sometimes we aren't ever good enough. Sometimes you look back at a good season in your relationship with a toxic person and ask why things couldn't stay that way. And then you wonder if they were ever as good as they seemed. How could things turn ugly so fast over and over?

It's likely that there is no one or not many who know this particular pain in my Facebook feed or in whatever circle this post will find itself shared. It's possible. But I am writing it just in case.

If you find yourself feeling not-yourself before Mother's Day - a holiday that is so worth celebrating. A holiday that I hope my kids look forward to as I grow old. Celebration I strive to be worthy of every day. If that's you? You are so not by yourself. But it's getting a little bit better every year, I think. And that gives me hope. I hope it gives you hope, too.

And again.

I'm okay. I'm okay right now. I will probably be not okay the week before next Mother's Day. But I'm tired of no one talking about this and I don't know what else to do but to start.

And if anyone decides to show this to my mom, even though that's not the purpose of this blog - Mom? I will always love you. But you cannot be in my life right now and that will not change without a long period of stable behavior and some sincere apologies. I have no hate in my heart for you. I pray for your heart to truly change. I pray that it is possible. Even though you think I'm going to Hell and you think I'm less than nothing. I still pray for you.

And I'm okay. You hurt me over and over. You hurt my siblings - some of the people I love more than anything in the world. You still hurt me when I relive the damage. I feel certain that you won't get it. You will scoff and, once again, say that I am spiteful. But I'm living my life and gosh, Mom, it's so beautiful. You have no idea. My kids are so great. My husband gets better every year. You are missing so much, and as of right now, that can't change.

So here we are. I'm at Starbucks on Mother's Day because my husband, even with his poor injured back, is holding down the crazy fort so I can spend some time reflecting here as I sip my Americano.

I have so much gratitude in my heart right now.

To Paula - my friend and adopted-by-love mom, thanks for coming to see me and managing to show up for me without making it weird that you know Mother's Day kind of sucks for me. You're a true gem. I'm grateful for you.

Hubby, thanks for seeing through the awfulness that is Pre Mother's Day at our home. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not failing. I don't know how God picked someone so suited to hear my heart and really see me - this sassy, analytical, technical girl who is still kind of messed up.

Everyone who has read this, I hope that you can't relate. I hope you have no idea how this feels. I hope that gets to be your story. But if not, I hope you're okay, or at least almost okay. And if you're not even close, please know that at the very least, you are so not alone.

Dad, I love you and you are such an example of unconditional love. That's my favorite thing about you. You have never let pride be more important than love. That's what it's all about. That's it. That's parenthood and relationships in a nutshell. Thank you for modeling it. For being sorry when it's time to be sorry and protecting me to the best of your ability. I'm so grateful for you, you hilarious, corny man.

I could go on, but I can't name everyone fairly. There are too many beautiful people in my life who have made it worth the trek up and out of fear and depression. My siblings, in-laws, friends, church family - thanks for every time you listened.

I hope this story is helpful to someone. It's not a cry for pity. It's just that this is my story. And I'm going to tell the truth and let it set me free.


  1. Candi... YOU are amazing. I can relate to quite a bit of this, on different levels, but none the less, relatable. I had my own major fears of this Mothers Day, and it started as a not so great day here, luckily, it ended much better than it began. Putting one foot in front of the other and keeping your eyes on the road can be so difficult. But like you said, 'I am okay' and sometimes, okay is the best we can be. We are entirely allowed to be just 'okay' too. Love You!

    1. Thank you so much, Alisha. Your words mean a great deal. I'm go glad your day ended in a better way!

  2. Candi, this meant so much to me! I will not name names, but my life was completely destroyed by toxic people and I allowed it to happen. People that I loved hated me and I never understood why they were jealous of me and were determined to take away anything good I might have in my life. In my depression, I isolated. I did not have a supportive family like you do. Lies were told on me, more than you can imagine, or maybe you can.

    So I went the opposite direction, in rebellion. I set out to "show" everyone what I could really do, since they were so keen to accuse me. I went down a very dark and lonely path. Thank God, he came to me right in the smack dab middle of my mess and began to work in my heart and life. It took years. He physically removed me from all the toxic people that had literally driven me insane. They could not reach me where I was. God knew what he was doing when He allowed me to go to prison. It was the best place for me to heal. The constant barrage of one attack after another by the people that were closest to me was something that would have greatly hindered what God was trying to do for me.

    God got me to where my complete trust is in him. Not in ANYONE's opinion of me, but in what He says. He taught me about forgiveness. About letting things go, not because the other person even cares, but for me. It doesn't mean I have to let those people close to me now, maybe not ever. It's about me regaining my sanity, finding my center, and having complete peace.

    For many years, Mother's Day was the absolute worst day of the year for me. I loved my children. There were individuals who made it their personal mission to make sure I lost them, and they won. Because they hated me. Knowing that you are hated, but not knowing why causes so much mental anguish. It's like if you only knew why, you could maybe do something to fix it.

    It took years and lots of therapy and spiritual renewing for me to realize that the people that hated me were the ones with the issues, not me. I had allowed it to destroy me and make me act out in ways that I hated myself. Once I took a complete inventory, I was able to face my own wrongs, realize what caused it, without blame shifting, and begin to make changes.

    Now, I am that person who has to prove themselves, and I am ok with it. I have almost 5 years of being sober and stable. Some still don't like me and that is ok. I have an awesome life, with people around me daily that love me for me and accept me for who I am. There are some truths that will only come out in God's time, and his timing is perfect!

    Sweetheart, you are amazing, and I am so glad that you have overcome so much and not let it overtake you like it did me! You have so much to give and you don't let your pain stop you, but rather use your pain to further your calling. (For a calling it is, this gift you have with words!)

  3. Thank you for sharing. You are not alone.

  4. I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to write this. Whatever your mother did cannot be undone and I know this doesn't make that part of your life better but you do have the power to control how YOU are as a Mother to your kids and it seems you are doing a great job. I, too, suffer with depression and when I was a child my father was abusive and had issues with alcohol. Parents are supposed to be the ones who should make you feel safe. Thank you for sharing this testimony. Hopefully getting those feelings out there will help ease some of that tension. You deserve happiness and peace.

  5. I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to write this. Whatever your mother did cannot be undone and I know this doesn't make that part of your life better but you do have the power to control how YOU are as a Mother to your kids and it seems you are doing a great job. I, too, suffer with depression and when I was a child my father was abusive and had issues with alcohol. Parents are supposed to be the ones who should make you feel safe. Thank you for sharing this testimony. Hopefully getting those feelings out there will help ease some of that tension. You deserve happiness and peace.

  6. This took a lot of courage to share & you did so with grace. I admire you, my friend, for always moving forward & sharing your heart so authentically. Big hugs.

    1. Thank you, friend. Your words are always uplifting! <3


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