Mother’s Day: Earning it*

Mother’s Day: Earning it*

When my son was in active addiction I hated holidays.

Mother’s Day was among the worst.

Walking through town I passed families with teenagers, toddlers and baby carriages.  My eye would catch a grandmother smiling beside her daughter, both women sporting painfully bright pink corsages or carrying a single, long-stemmed, red rose, or worse a full bouquet – testament to their family’s love and adoration on this day of all days.

The sight of them hurt.

Where was my carnation?  My long-stemmed blooms?

It wasn’t until I found Al-Anon that an understanding of addiction – and its effects on me – began to help.  I had to mourn the loss of so much:  my son not finishing college, starting a career, saving money to buy a house…enjoying a Mother’s Day.

I had to learn that it was all about expectations, and I had to let them – and him – go.

It was through Al-Anon that I learned the kind of mother I needed to be –  one who understood boundaries, who relinquished a control  she never had, and who would allow my son to grow up on his own.

Not until we gave Jacob the ultimatum to enter treatment or leave our home did his “growing up” begin. By then, all I cared about was that he would get well and be “drug-free.”

This understanding, hard-won, took time.

Today, Jacob is eight years into recovery.  His sobriety has brought him all the milestones that he wanted to achieve: a college degree, a career, and a beautiful young woman he will marry next year.

His mother is in recovery too, still learning how to be the mother he needs.

On Mother’s Day he calls.  We “face time” between his home in Florida and mine in Maryland, but he always remembers it.

To get my son back, I had to let him go.

And to celebrate Mother’s Day, I had to earn it.


*Excerpt from article for MomPower, a Hazelden-hosted website

6 Replies to “Mother’s Day: Earning it*”

  1. A magnificent, heartwarming testament to strength, determination, tenacity, courage, wisdom and the everlasting bond of love and devotion to your son.
    This Mother’s Day should be dedicated to you.

    1. Linda, don’t you believe there’s an “everlasting” bond between all children and their parents?
      Whether both parties recognize it or not.
      It’s the blessed ones who do.

  2. Thank you for the courage to share again about how by “giving up” perfection/control you “got “ so much more. I applaud Jake’s ‘success’ as defined & achieved on his time table and his unique way. More so, I thrill to the endless & two way flow of loving acceptance & admiration that U enjoy. I’m celebrating both of you (& not just today) for making a difference in the lives of so many, mine included.

    1. Tara, apologies for taking so long to respond.
      Thank you for your very very kind words. Always from you they are quite special.
      Love to you

  3. Lisa, so beautifully written and expressed. This breaks my heart and fills it at the same time. We are forever evolving as mothers and you are one amazing mother who is and will always be cherished and loved. You earned it. ❤️

    1. Laurie, apologies for responding so late. But motherhood is eternal, right?