For Mother’s Day, each cast member wrote a letter to their mom (major mascara alert) and read it on-air to their moms. To close out the week, Bert wrote a letter to his wife, Stacey, and his 9-year-old son, Hayden, read it to her.
Now, Bert doesn’t have a traditionally solid relationship with his mom, so he wrote a Mother’s Day letter to all of those out there who are estranged from their moms.
For Mother’s Day this week my on air partners have verbally detailed all the tributes that make their parents wonderful. It’s been really touching and beautiful to listen to. Tears flowed all week as each of them reminisced about the strength, admiration and life lesson’s they have learned from their mother.
My thought all week long is that I know that my children will speak of my wife, Stacey, the same way when they are older. But I’m also saddened that I don’t share their past.
There certainly has been a hole and an emptiness in me this week. Perhaps, all estranged children feel it during weeks in which their parents are celebrated. I don’t share the same anecdotes as my coworkers. I possess few stories of motherly sacrifice; She was never stressed out because she had to transport me to three or four events in the same day because she simply wasn’t present. My childhood isn’t filled with deep, wise parental guidance and I have no stories of my mom nursing me back to health. My mother never made our house feel like a home. I don’t remember her cooking a holiday meal or instilling in me any importance of connecting with family. I’m sure she loved me. But my mom wasn’t warm or protective.
A few years ago, I realized that my life was missing connection. I wasn’t connecting with my wife or connecting with my kids the way that I thought was healthy. So I saw a therapist about it. I had to delve into my childhood to try correct this for my wife, my kids and myself. It was really painful stuff. Unfortunately, that meant my mom had to look at her past, too. A journey she was unwilling to take with me. She bailed. She has no contact with me or her other two sons.
There’s so much more pain that’s party of our history. Short story? I haven’t talked to her in two years. Her decision, really. In all candor, I’m at a pretty dangerous place ‘cause I can’t say I miss her most of the year. I’m not even mad at her. I accept that asking her to be a different mother is no different than somebody asking me to be tall. Not possible. But on weeks like this I do miss what most have had; a bond with their mother that only comes from unconditional love, warmth and caring.
However, in a strange way, our jacked up mothers make us better parents if we’re willing to learn from that pain. Whenever I feel detached from my children I have a history (even if it was dysfunctional) to guide me that allows me to realize it’s not acceptable for me as a parent. She’s made me a better parent. It’s weird to credit her with that.
For those of you that are awesome Mother’s, like my wife, I honor you to the highest levels. The sacrifices you make and the unconditional love you show your children every day are making them whole, complete individuals. There is simply no other responsibility more important and so many of you do it effortlessly and lovingly and never give yourself enough credit.
For those of us that are estranged from our parents on Mother’s Day, this connected with me. It’s from Helen Keller: “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”