Mothers of addicts, I see you. Don't think I don't. I have an intimate knowledge of the very particular pain that you will feel this coming Sunday. Now I know. There are mothers out there, mothers whose children have died and who are far worse off than us. But ours, our pain is difficult to put into words. Our addicted children are indeed alive, but they're not living. They are here, on this earth, but not HERE (mentally and sometimes physically). Each day, mothers of addicts walk around with an empty crater the size of Mt. Vesuvius in the very center of our solar plexus. However, on Mother's Day, that emptiness mixes with powerful grief, soul-aching sadness and an oil-slick gloom that envelops us and permeates the day. But not this year, mamas. Let’s not do that this year. Let’s celebrate the day the way it is supposed to be celebrated. Okay, okay okay. I know what you are saying! “How? How can we possibly CELEBRATE motherhood when our children are in imminent danger?" Well, if you will, give me a chance to convince you on this Mother's Day to rejoice in your role INSTEAD.
I know it is a daily occurrence to have a moment where your thoughts wander, despite your best efforts, to where your addicted child might be, to what he or she might be doing at that very moment. These moments during the day are often fear-filled. We allow ourselves to go to the very darkest parts of our imagination. Why not try this INSTEAD--when a vision of your son or daughter lands squarely in the center of your mind, push fear aside and on Mother's Day instead feel LOVE. Be mindful of the love you have for that child. Concentrate on that emotion and wrap the familiar fear-feeling in an impenetrable bubble and let it float right over your head. Keep your mind steady on that loving feeling and if you want, when you're finished, wrap that LOVE in a bubble as well and send it out into the universe with explicit instructions to go and find that son or daughter. Send them your love. Who knows, it just may reach them.
When you lay eyes on happy mamas surrounded by their children, at breakfast, at dinner, at the park, or on a walk. Don't...just don't wallow in the "I remember when's". Just don't. INSTEAD, think on those memories with the reverie that they deserve. Think about that day at the beach and the jingle-bells in a tin-bucket laughter that came from your son. Think about the day when you braided your daughter's hair. Go ahead. Revel in those memories. They are truly truly treasures. They are YOURS. No one, nothing can ever take those wonderful good-day memories away. Not the system, not the drugs, not the alcohol, not the bad choices, or the destructive behavior. Rejoice, mamas. Rejoice, laugh, smile and deeply sigh at all remembering on this Mother's Day.
If you have other children, healthy unaddicted children, don't let anything taint how you enjoy them, They need you just as much. They love and laugh and disappoint and grow and change and have hopes and dreams and fears and wants just like your addicted child does. I know that sometimes, all that encompasses being a mama of an addict can make it so you are only focusing on what seems like the most imminent emergency. But not today. Take a look at those other faces. Look right into their eyes. Be proud. Be present. Be contented in their company. Marvel at how they have grown since the last Mother's Day.
Lastly, mamas. Lastly. If you can't keep your mind off of the addiction, off of the child for whom your heart often bleeds and aches, then be grateful. Yes. I said grateful. For we all know that although few and far between and hardly worth the pain, there ARE some things that have been good that have come from an addicted child. Be grateful for the friends who have rallied around you, supported you, joked with you and let you cry. Be thankful for the strength of character that you have developed through each and every crisis. Give thanks for empathy that has deeply changed your view of the world and the humans that inhabit it. Feel indebted to each smile, laugh and giggle that come despite all of the pain. Look around. Do you live near mountains? A lake? The ocean? Take in all the beauty around you. There IS so much beauty in this world.
Mamas, there may be flowers tomorrow, or breakfast in bed. There may be rudimentary drawings and books entitled "What I love Best About My Mom." For some of you, there may not be any token given at all. Either way, either way, let's give ourselves a gift tomorrow. Let's be completely and utterly satisfied and incandescently fulfilled in our roles as mamas. Let us take care of our tired hearts and minds tomorrow mamas. Let's give them a day of rest before they once again begin their vigilance on Monday.