What can I say about mother? It’s a complicated and painful subject for me - actually, more painful than complicated. My own mother is one of the most toxic and damaging people I know - hence, I don’t have a relationship with her. When most mothers are trying to figure out how to do the “mom thing”- which is more than enough to figure out- I was being threatened by my mom and her parents who were my abusers. I was a new mom and was neck deep in repressed memories. I had a new baby, no money and now on top of diapers and everything that comes with A BABY - I had to pay for therapy, Yippee! Around this time was when my dear old mom decides to get her parents involved in my life and my therapy. Sidenote - at this time I was not spreading the news about what had happened to me as a child except with my therapist, my husband, and a small handful of women who were dealing with their own shit and supporting me through my own. I had no desire to confront my grandparents - I just want to cut my losses and try to duct tape myself together. Back to the story: I have a toddler and I am newly pregnant again and find out my mother, her brother, and their parents, my grandparents (did I mention, my molesters) hire a lawyer who doesn’t believe in repressed memories to sue us for visitation rights of our kids. Let that sink in! I have a toddler. My husband and I run an all-ages music venue (no money). I’m pregnant. I have PTSD. I have little-to-no insurance. My mom and her parents hire a lawyer whose whole job it is to force me to let my child and my womb baby visit MY FUCKING ABUSERS!!!! And deny that I was abused. This is how Motherhood started for me. Something had I wanted to be my whole life - it all began as a life-threatening shitshow. Do I sound angry? Well, after almost 20 years of dealing with her constant shenanigans (so many they would fill volumes) you get a little angry. I was so excited to be a mom. It was exciting, and still is. I didn’t do everything right, but I did and still do, a lot right. It’s hard work being loving and learning how to be a better human. My two fantastic children deserve the best mom therapy can buy. Some of that mothering I have to do for myself, too. I am still angry and will most likely be angry to some degree the rest of my life. What I’m learning is to give anger a voice. To not hold it inside where it turns in on itself, but to direct it where it belongs. Anger is not the same as unforgiveness. Forgiving is for me! Forgiving means my mother has no control over me, my future, my happiness! Forgiveness is my key to happiness because it means I don’t have to carry my mother around with me - that I don’t have to carry her shame. I am free of her shame. Free to deal with just mine and mine alone. Anger means I am feeling the appropriate emotion that comes from exposure, rape, lying, deceit, abandonment, betrayal, etc. Anger is an indicator for me that I’m healing. For years, I thought I couldn’t really let the anger out, for fear of the possible legal repercussions . Or that I wouldn’t be able to control it and my family would pay the price. But I’m learning that me not letting myself feel is the real price my family would end up paying. So I would let it squeak out a little at a time - not too overwhelming - just enough to not explode. And save the more explosive stuff with people that I knew it wouldn’t harm- my therapist, spiritual director, and friends who believed me. What does this have to do with Mother’s day you might be asking? Well, the whole thing is complicated and, for many of us, that it is a mixed bag. Not everyone had/has a shitty mother, thank God! But there are many ways it can be painful. For the last 20 years, the day has been a mixture of: pain and joy Sorrow and celebration powerlessness and empowering work on the inside and the out bitter and sweet Fuck this and Hallelujah! As well as - a day to look at it or not. To hold space for me - to feel all the complicated emotions that come with it. It almost always is a day/week of reflection whether I want it or not. The bottom line for me is - GOOD MOTHERS ARE WORTH CELEBRATING! I will continue to celebrate all the mothers who have taught me that my childhood story doesn’t have to define the future me. All of these different people have shown me that I write the story and the story is worth writing. And even if I end up doing all my own mothering, I am worth it.