Friday, May 11, 2018

Celebrate Yourself!

For years and I mean YEARS, I hated Mother's Day (a well-documented point that you can read about here and here and here). I felt that my mother placed unreasonable expectations on me, her only daughter, to spearhead the effort to celebrate her. So it made me very resentful because I felt that with two sons and a husband, the weight of being appreciative should not fall so heavily on my shoulders.

And I felt that way for years until she got sick, then a different kind of resentment set in. I was angry that I had to essentially get over whatever issues I had about our relationship. I was angry that as the only daughter, I was again expected to make the effort (and the sacrifices) to demonstrate how much she meant to us.

And I felt that way until I became a mother, with its own specific and accompanying resentments. I  could have allowed them to take hold of me, but I have decided to rebuke all of that and declare that I will NOT wallow in any kind of self-pity or envy of others. I will celebrate myself!

Last year I skipped the extended family gathering for my mother because of anger and frustration with my siblings. I let my husband make plans, and while the day was spent doing what he enjoyed followed by dinner, I have decided to accept that his efforts will be sufficient. This year my Dad announced what he wanted us to do, and again, while the specific restaurant would not have been my first choice, it is adequate and it serves its purpose. The point is to spend time with my mother.

And that is what I plan to do for as long as she is here. I plan to take her to church, which will be a bit of an effort, but I will do it because I can. I will enjoy the restaurant with my parents because I can. I will send this last batch of cards to my friends and family because I can. I will be happy just to see another day (God willing) because I can.

Later, I will find a nice dress and/or a pair of shoes and/or maybe even some nice jewelry for myself. Maybe I will find a nice spa package and/or take another solo trip somewhere. I might go to the movies, see a play, or visit a museum. I might connect with old classmates, line sisters, and other mommies I've met recently to celebrate the fact that we are still here. Maybe none of those things will happen this weekend, but I won't place such high expectations on this particular date on the calendar to validate my worth.

To be clear, I am not telling anyone else how to feel this weekend. And I am not suggesting that we are not entitled to our expectations. Instead, I am suggesting that I will not give someone else the job of making me feel happy when I'm much better at it. Like every other mother, I want appreciation, but I have come to understand that love is not a universal expression. Now I won't lie and say that I don't get into my feelings when I believe that there has been little effort or thought made towards me. But I learned from my mother that I can do for myself, and if they don't, I will.

So if you are reading this and feel some kind of way about Sunday just know that I appreciate you. I honor you. I see you. I celebrate you!

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