Smile, you were born!
That's the message on the card my daughter gave me last year on my birthday. I saved it to remind me, that yes, a birthday is always a reason to smile.
It didn't used to be that way. For many years, my birthday was a reminder of the pain of feeling unloved and unwanted. I was born with a great hunger to be loved, a hole in my little soul, that nothing seemed to fill.
I was the fifth of eleven children, so there wasn't much of Mom to go around. We didn't get tucked in with kisses on the forehead or Winnie the Pooh or snuggles from Mom. We got Dad yelling, "Get to bed or I'm coming up with the belt." Which he often did.
Along the way, I made peace with this day that I entered the world. May 31 is now a celebration of life, and what a great life it is. My heart and soul have healed. I feel so full of love and joy, my hope is that it spills out every day onto others.
Today my daughter asked, "Do you feel older?"
"No," I answered. "I feel younger as I go."
"I can't wait to celebrate you," she said.
Celebrate you. Why don't we do it every day? Why don't we celebrate our being?
That's my plan for the next 100 days. To celebrate my being by mothering me.
Some people are close to their moms. They talk on the phone every day and can't wait to catch up on the latest. I wasn't blessed with that kind of bond. I have never in my life called my mom because I needed her help, love or comfort. Her help was always out of reach, something I learned wasn't mine to count on.
I've often said, "My mom did the best she could with what she had." And that is true. I send her light and love every day.
But the greater truth is, I haven't done the best I can with what I have.
I haven't done the best I can at celebrating me, at mothering me.
The other day a friend of mine said, "My mom didn't mother me. But it's okay, because I mother me."
I nearly fell out of my chair. For so long I went without a mother's love, looked for it everywhere it wasn't, and finally made peace with not getting it.
I love to mother others, my daughter, my two sons, my grandbabies. I know how to do it. I just don't do it for me.
A new invitation has arrived from the Universe: Regina, love you. Regina, mother you.
And so I will. And so I am.
It starts with celebrating this day, this glorious day of all days, the day of my birth.