Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I really enjoyed my entire weekend, and was so blessed that both of my babies returned early from their dad’s houses to be with me. Their presence was present enough, but I was still treated with a few goodies of appreciation from my kids and partner: My sweet son brought me a card wishing me a happy day, and my darling daughter brought me roses (and I’m grateful for their dads who enabled them to bring me these cherished little gifts). My boyfriend kind of spoiled me, letting me splurge on something I’ve wanted for quite some time: a new purse, as well as treating me to my favorite Bob Evans breakfast before church.
We had the pleasure of celebrating my mom and his mom with a cook out, and it was a fun time. I got to do yoga with my mom in the sunshine and spend the day with family.
It was an easy going, relaxing, really fun, and honestly, a really rewarding day.
But a few days before, I spent a few hours talking to an old friend about most of the chaos in our lives. I relived most of the darkest parts of the last year in that conversation, as well as in the hours and days following. It’s taken a toll on me, but I’m kind of glad it did.
One of the things I revisited in my mind was last Mother’s Day. I wrote about it and wanted to revisit it.
I was so encouraged by what I wrote to other moms, and myself, and my soon-to-be ex-husband. But I was also so sad. I was sad for excuses I was making, so sad to remember that feeling of just trying to talk myself into contentness and joy that I didn’t have, trying to convince myself that I was seen, known, and recognized by the person I was making a home with.
But I wasn’t.
My efforts went unnoticed. My talents, untouched. My skill set and gifts, unrecognized and unused.
My heart longed for real affirmation, real encouragement, and real authentic relationship and partnership, and I could find none. And that probably has a lot to do with why I went the way I went later last year.
All that stuff I wrote, my husband at the time did those things because I asked him to. I assigned so much greatness and depth to him and his intentions and reasoning that just didn’t exist. And I realize that I did that A LOT.
Being an analytic mind, I think deeply and desire to understand reasons. I want the WHY. I crave it and hunger for it, but sometimes, there isn’t a good or satisfying one.
I was looking to establish that I was appreciated and loved by the man I married, and I had to create that out of thin air. I had to find it in the little bit of assistance he gave me in caring for our then-infant son. And on Mother’s Day.
There’s this whole day set aside for moms to be recognized for their sacrifices, and I was treated as if I’d made none. It crushed me. It still crushes me.
I still stand by what I said about how important I had made myself last year, and had thought more highly of myself that I should have. I don’t argue that. What I do argue is that I was made to feel so bad for my love language being silenced. I was encouraged by so many other women after I wrote it for being “so right” for what was really me talking myself into feeling bad for not getting what we all knew was the very way I was created to feel and receive communicated love: affirmation.
The greatest treat I had yesterday was the encouragement and affirmation I received from my partner, my daughter, and my sister. Gifts are wonderful and so appreciated, but I’m really awkward at receiving them (I’m still freaking out about my purse because it’s Coach and I dont know what to do with something that fancy). It was hearing that the person I share a home with and sees me and sits with me in the trenches of motherhood believes in me. It was my sister, the aunt to my children, telling me that she trusts me to watch her yet unborn child because of the kind of mother I am and the kinds of kids I’m raising.
I don’t condone what happened later in my marriage, and I’m not trying to use this as a means to make excuses. What I want to say a year later though is that my needs matter. Your needs matter.