As a survivor, the question of how to appropriately mark Mother’s and Father’s day is always a bit tricky. We tend to see all the folks who have good, warm, relationships with their parents marking those days on social media, posting their great childhood memories on Facebook, sharing old family photos, or wishing their spouse, their partner in raising their own kids, a great day.
For those of us with less than warm relationships with our parents, or those of us who do not have children, these two days of celebration can easily become a day we simply go hide in our bedroom and refuse to come out until Monday.
I want to try and look at them differently. Let me give you an example. For Mother’s Day a few years ago I wrote a Facebook message because I wanted to acknowledge all of the great women I know, including my wife, who are not mothers, but who bring all of those qualities we celebrate on Mother’s Day into the lives of those around them. I repeated it this year:
I’m recycling this sentiment from 4 years ago, but it still holds true today – Happy Mothers Day to all the moms I know on Facebook, and even to the ladies who are not moms. This is a day to appreciate the loving and nurturing instincts that make women who they are, and make us guys lucky to have them in our lives. Enjoy your day ladies, you deserve it!
It occurred to me later, that this same approach could be useful as a survivor of child abuse as well. Yes, many of us do not have the types of parents who fit within the qualities of good mothers and fathers that we celebrate on these days, but I bet most of us know people in our own lives who bring those qualities to our relationship with them. They may not be our parents, but the presence of those qualities of character around us, deserve to be celebrated.
So, with Mother’s Day behind us, but Father’s Day coming up, I hope you will take the time to perhaps mourn for the lack of relationship you may have with a parent, but also choose to acknowledge the people around you who bring motherly nurturing, or fatherly guidance to you, no matter what their “relation” to you may be.