If you live with a teenager who lives with depression, Mother’s Day might suck.
Or, it might be great. Your heart, broken and deprived, might get the lift it needs to get on with it for another day, another week, another month. It’s hard to say which way the cookie will crumble on Mother’s Day.
On my first sucky Mother’s Day, I was sad.
Deep in my bones sad. I had failed my daughter in countless ways and she was now paying the price for all my inadequacies. Not surprisingly, she hated me. She told me so regularly, in case I forgot. I had committed sins so unforgiveable, she would always hate me. She couldn’t wait to be free of me.
On the second sucky Mother’s Day, I was angry.
I was tired of the abuse and emotional turmoil, sick of being worried and sad and riddled with guilt. Couldn’t she, for just this one day a year, give me something. Anything. Stop being so selfish. Get over herself. Get over her depression.
On the third sucky Mother’s Day, I was resigned.
I lowered all expectations, and tried to be grateful my kids were physically healthy and that my husband was kind enough to try to make up for what was missing. It was what it was. If this was motherhood, my motherhood, so be it. I bought myself this magnet and put it on the fridge for my kids and all the world to see. And I tried to be happy, not jealous, of my sister and friends who were enjoying their own special day, their own perfect families.
Today is Mother’s Day number four, AD. After Depression.
So far, so good. Both my kids gave me hugs unprompted upon waking. They were genuine hugs. It felt like they meant it. My daughter even walked the dog with me and laughed as he tore through mud puddles. We were all happy in that moment, I think. Happy to be together. Happy to be alive.
And while part of me still wants what our culture says I deserve–to be cherished, and honoured, and thanked, and feted, I’m trying really hard to just be grateful for what I have. For those hugs. For that walk. Because, all things considered, today is a pretty good day.