The holidays are supposed to be a magical time, but for those with estranged parents and family members, the sight of grandparents loving on their grandchildren or friends spending the holidays with family members can sting. So this is a letter to you, mom with estranged parents, written in hopes that it helps to lessen the hurt. May you find your holiday spark knowing that others understand you, love you, and support you.
Dear Amazing Woman,
Holidays seem to be a little extra hard, don’t they?
Estranged parents hang a dark cloud over what should be a happy time.
You want to make everything special for your kids, but you feel held back by the emotions of what is missing.
Most of the time you’re okay, but sometimes it hurts. It hurts so much.
It’s a heavy burden to bear, but you do it gracefully. You’re safe to set down your load and rest.
You see your friends. They have mothers who come to help after they have a baby. Their dads help them move every time. Their parents answer their phones and always have time to talk. Their parents babysit their grandchildren and insist your friends have date nights. They’re supportive in every sense of the word. Your friends don’t know what they would do without the constant support from their parents.
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You know, because you face that reality every single day. You’re happy for your friends, you really are, and sometimes it hurts deep inside. Sometimes you feel like you’re crumbling to the ground because you know how it should be.
You wish your mom were there to help you decorate and surprise the kids, or at least talk to you on the phone while you do it. The kids are at school or napping and this would be the perfect time for a mother and daughter to have a heart-to-heart. You have so much on your chest and could really use a good chat with all the stress that has been building, but she’s eternally unavailable.
It’s okay to not be okay.
You wish your relationship with your dad was different, too, but he let you down. Sometimes there are a million and a half examples running through your mind. It’s just not right.
It’s okay to let it all out. It’s okay cry.
You see photos of other women with their parents and your heartaches. The bottom line is that you can’t rely on them. You don’t even ask anymore. It’s not worth your effort. It’s easier to find ways to do everything yourself.
You have given so many chances to your estranged parents and tried to bridge the gap. You even left the door open a crack just in case. You have done enough. You are enough.
You don’t even know what to tell your kids about their grandparents. How could you possibly explain something you don’t understand? You can’t even imagine not being there for your kids when they’re in need, or even when they’re not.
You would, like your friends’ parents, drop everything to pick up a phone or hop on a plane and make the distance disappear.
You don’t understand what you did wrong for them to be so absent and cruel. You did nothing wrong. Nothing. You’re a great person. You’re a great mom for being there for your kids, always.
You have been through so much. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. There was something very broken, but you found your strength, fought hard, and made it through. Somehow you knew you had to do things differently than the way your parents taught you to love.
Thank you for having the courage to acknowledge and admit that the cycle needed to be changed. You did it. You created a new cycle.
Thank you for loving your babies fiercely and showing them with your actions.
You are not your estranged parents. You are writing a new story for yourself and for your kids every single day. You’re showing your kids how to make time for the most important people in life. You’re showing them how to prioritize, act morally, and love.
Make sure to teach them one more thing. Teach them to love themselves by loving yourself. They’re watching. Take time for yourself to process your emotions, de-stress, rest, and be happy. You always seem to be the one supporting everyone else. When you’re hurting, when you need support, reach out to someone. Whatever you need, do it, because you deserve it. You deserve everything.
You are amazing!
To anyone who knows someone with estranged parents, reach out to them. When you do, keep an open mind about the situation and the feelings that go along with it. Check on them close to holidays. Check on them on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and their birthday. Check on them on days that end with “day.” Offer a listening ear and make sure they know you care.
Estrangements and compromised relationships are tough, especially during holidays, transitions, and other important or sensitive times. If you’re having a hard time, seek support. Everyone, no matter how strong, needs help sometimes.
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