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Reclaiming the Joy of Mother's Day--It's Not About Me

alec vanderboom

Thursday night I lead my CODA (Co-dependents Anonymous) Meeting. It's my one year anniversary of attending meetings. We call it our "CODA Birthday". I got this special "chip" a brass coin with the slogan "To Thine Own Self Be True" and a 1 on it.

I'm not really comfortable leading meetings yet. I signed up as a gift to my community. Mother's Day can be super hard emotionally. I was thankful that I'd gained so much in recovery. I wanted to give back.

For the first decade of my motherhood, Mother's Day used to be all about trauma. I was disconnected from my feelings, I didn't even know why I would often end up crying on Mother's Day. I just knew those feelings hurt and I wanted to avoid them at all cost. The more I would try to avoid Mother's Day, or tightly script Mother's Day events, the worse of a black hole I'd end up in by around 2 PM each Sunday.

Last Friday, I drove back most of my kids from Swim Team while my husband stayed to give our six year old "Homeschool Swimming Lessons" during Family Swim Time at the YMCA. I told my 9 year old son and 11 year old daughter that I'd like a homemade card for Mother's Day. Within minutes, they had rattled off so many of my "Mom Slogans" with such perfect accuracy that we all enjoyed full belly laughs. At one point, I worried that I should stop driving because I was laughing so hard that it was getting a little dangerous. It really feels great to laugh at myself.

In the middle of the jokes, I looked at my son in wonder. I would have never felt free enough to poke fun at my Mom for 20 minutes during a car ride as a kid. My relationship with her was tightly controlled. I didn't think that my husband would have felt comfortable teasing his Mom either. Yet, here Jon and I are--creating a family culture that is loving, and sweet and funny! My kid's humor was super accurate. (Mostly, they were making fun of my inability to talk clearly while I'm tired from pregnancy.) Their humor was also kind. I felt relaxed. I felt loved. I've had so many fears that I'm screwing up this Motherhood thing. Sometimes, God gives me a little glimpse of the parts that I'm doing well.

Mother's Day  is not about me. It's a chance for my husband and my kids to say "Thank you." The person they really are thanking is God. Carmelite's strive to make "God the main author of their story." I'm selfish and independent and fearful. I'm really miserable about following God's direction in all areas of my life--except for motherhood. That is clearly a God project. Even I can see that God's fully in charge in that area. Learning how to accept thank yous from my family with some grace, honors God.