I would consider myself an open book when it comes to the fact that I don’t have a mom. It’s been about 13 years since my parents divorced and 10 years since I stopped visiting my mother. It’s normal for me to not have a mother, so it’s easy for me to talk about not having one. I get reminded every-so-often of the unusual reality when a doctor asks questions about my mom’s side of some illness, or when I meet someone new and they ask about both of my parents. The usual question stems from “WOW! Your mother had seven children?! She must be a saint, right?” That one is always an awkward conversation, but I’m used to it. It’s a subject that is numb to me most of the time.
However, it’s not like that for most people with an absent parent. And it’s not like that for me all of the time.
As a young woman, I am reminded of not having a mother in my life more now than ever. From my friends’ moms texting/calling them every day, to my friends’ moms sending care packages and gifts, it’s been reminding me that I do not have that. I have my grandma, my sister, and my hometown best friends, Meghan and Caroline, who fulfill those duties. But I am always reminded it isn’t the same and sometimes, it sucks.
In general, it is just an unfortunate situation to not have two parents when most of your friends do. For me, it will always sting a bit deep that my mother left by choice, rather than by force of nature. The partying lifestyle, traveling, and quite literally anything but parenting were more important, and that is something that has affected each person in my family. Whether it’s discussed or not, a mother’s presence is one that is vital for children and the absence of it calls for lots of maneuvering. Maneuvering in the sense of having to figure out fashion, boys, management of mental health and in general, life.
It is something that can never be forgotten as holidays are a constant reminder of the absence. There are always appreciation posts for single mothers on Father’s Day, yet never for single fathers on Mother’s Day. So, instead of posting for the legend that is my dad on Mother’s Day too (shout out Norm), I post for my grandma and watch everyone post for their moms. It’s not the worst situation, by any means, but it is just an unfortunate situation to be reminded of.
Now, I am so aware that life could be much worse. I have six amazing siblings, an amazing father, and two amazing grandparents. However, just as I ask others to not partake in toxic positivity to others, I ask the same for myself.
Having an absent parent and dealing with the trauma that came during and after that is hard. It will never not be hard. Navigating things by yourself while friends have their moms to assist is hard. Being a girl and not having a mom you can just call for hours about nothing is hard.
Each and every day, I am reminded in small ways of this realization. I’ll get a sad
feeling in my heart or stomach. Some days, I’ll cry. Other days, it’s brushed off. It’s a never-ending situation. However, I find a lot of comfort in having the best six siblings a person could have, a father who stayed and works hard for my family every day, and two grandparents that I can always go to for a big hug. It may not be the most normal situation, but it is my normal.
I have an absent parent in my life, but that does not need to define my life nor my happiness. I know one day when I become a parent, I’ll be the best one yet because I’ll know what I missed out on and I know how to love deeply like my father has for me.