By Mari Stewart of Thinking Too Loud
That’s it. No more Mother’s Day for me. No more Father’s Day for me. I’m done.
I know I can’t be the only person who watches their social media feeds fill up with heartfelt tributes to moms and dads and feel, well, left out. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for me are not filled with sparkles and bad ties, hot dogs and glitter. Instead they come with an emptiness and a specter of jealousy that I fight to keep in the closet. It isn’t attractive, and no one wants to see that.
It’s not my friends’ and cousins’ fault that they are celebrating the parental lottery. Just as it isn’t my fault that I lost. So instead of staring at everyone’s good fortune and feeling that rising bitterness, I’ve made a practice of not watching social media on those parental celebration days.
But that just keeps the scars from being irritated. It’s a good start, but I’d like to be able to celebrate good parenting right along with my friends. It’s probably one reason that they are such good friends, well worth celebrating. It doesn’t seem very beneficial to be over in a corner, ignoring other people’s happiness. Kind of reeks of being a “sad sack.” So, I decided this year to celebrate my first Toxic Parent Monday.
Toxic Parent Monday falls immediately after the Sunday of celebration for the parent of record. So that means you have two of them in any year. This holiday can also be called Dysfunctional Family Survival Day.
You see, Toxic Parent Monday (TPM) or Dysfunctional Family Survival Day (DFSD) isn’t about pondering the ways your parents fell short or the wrongs that were done. It isn’t about the missed plays, the neglect, the broken arms, the insults or the abuse. The day is about the survival. Your survival. It’s about breaking the cycle of abuse. It’s about all of us who grew up and grew strong despite our families.
It’s not about competing with other survivors; it’s about celebrating that we survived the crazy-making. It’s about looking at each other and saying, “I see you, and I’m so glad you are here.”
This is a day dedicated to all the kids who didn’t have the story book beginning. We’re patient, we’re scrappy, and we can endure. So the next time TPD/DFSD comes around, if you grew up in a broken or dysfunctional home, take a moment to congratulate yourself and say:
“Ya know. I may not be perfect, but look where I came from. I have myself together in so many ways despite that start. Yeah, I’m going to make it. I raised myself, and damn if I didn’t do an ok job.”
This post was originally published on Thinking Too Loud.