This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. In my experience, holidays often come with unexpected or unwanted emotions. Grief and sadness are the two that show up on the regular. Holidays tend to highlight or magnify the loss I have experienced. They are a reminder that my parents are gone and not here to celebrate. They highlight Emily’s disability and missed milestones. If you have a child with a disability you get it. Your child is right there but not in the way you expected. It isn’t the way you thought it “would” or “should” be. Emily cannot tell me in words that she loves me or appreciates me. She doesn’t wake me up with a hug or bring me a card she picked out just for me. She is unable to do those things and that is okay. She is perfect in how she shows up, but that doesn’t mean I do not mourn the loss of what I thought it would be. This underlying and almost indescribable grief almost always strikes on Mother’s Day or birthdays. This Mother’s Day was not a unicorn. The grief arrives whether I want it to or not. Grief is funny like that, it is the uninvited guest that shows up when it wants.
Sunday started with me in a funk. The grief and sadness were real and wanted to be heard. They required space and time to be. I asked Todd if he would listen for Emily to wake while I did some meditation and journaling. He mentioned he had things to work on outside, but he did agree to get Emily up and take care of morning hygiene and medications. Knowing I had lots of emotions and limited time, I got to work. I put on a 5-minute meditation to silence my thoughts (or at least get them into some semblance of order). After that, I wrote with reckless abandon. I got all the sadness, grief, fear, bitterness, anger out of my head on paper. When I decided there was nothing else to get out, I let it go. I let go of the expectations and wishing things were different. I stopped arguing for what I thought should be and accepted what is.
I came out of my room with puffy eyes and a red face, but inside I felt good. I was ready to embrace my usual Sunday routine. I treated this Sunday like I do every Sunday. Emily and I both got our shower, shampoo, and shine on. I did laundry and got Emily’s medications set up for the week. Justin got up around 1 pm and made eggs Benedict for me. We had a lovely brunch of eggs and mimosas. Later in the day, Justin planned to head out and visit Nana (Todd’s Mom). Todd was done with his work and decided to go with the kids. I got a gift I did not expect. I received 3 unexpected hours to be at home alone. What a wonderful gift. I enjoyed every second of it. I rested and watched a silly romance movie. It was wonderful. The family brought me a chocolate malt from Baskin Robbins™ that I enjoyed for dinner. Yes, I had a milkshake for dinner and it was amazing!
I made a choice to process and accept my feelings, rather than rejecting them. Giving myself the gift of acceptance shifted my day. Acceptance allows us to be content when things are different than we thought they would be. Sunday I was reminded that acceptance applied not only to my circumstances but to my emotions. How I was feeling was real and accepting and allowing those feelings to be was a gift to me. There is a sense of peace that comes from allowing yourself to feel all of the feelings instead of trying to shame or suppress them.