I’m sharing this as a bonus article for Christmas because I am working with a number of women who are estranged from their adult children at the moment and dreading Christmas. One of my readers sent me this inspirational story which transformed this theme from one of deep loss and pain into happiness at this emotionally-charged time of the year. If you feel someone you know could benefit from her experience, please pass this onto them.
One Woman’s Positive Reframe on Christmas
I have been estranged from two of my adult children for three years now. I never imagined feeling joy again without them. So for me to be sitting here today writing about joy in my life and healing in my heart despite the estrangement, feels like a miracle. As a loving, caring, hands-on mother who had the unthinkable happen, I know full well the gut-wrenching pain of having a child cut all ties with you. Every occasion is difficult without them, but Christmas, by far, is the most difficult time of year for me. I miss all that Christmas was for us as a family. I miss their sweet smiling faces on Christmas morning and their happy sounds as they open their gifts. I miss them so much that all I want to do is hide.
The past two Christmases I have focused my thoughts on what I was missing with my girls and fell deep down into the rabbit hole of depression and self-blame. This year I told myself I didn’t want to go underground. I wanted to stay above and be connected and truly present with those in my life that love and support me. To do so, I had to focus on my needs and find a plan to keep me on track. So I asked myself, “what do you need?” At that moment I realized I needed to do some “Mom things”. I needed to bring my love, kindness and generosity to a family.
My daughters, for their own reasons, aren’t open to me mothering them during Christmas, but I was pretty sure that there were other children out there that would gobble it up. So I signed up with the Salvation Army to sponsor a family of five. The day I went shopping for gifts for the three children was by far the happiest day I have experienced in years. I kept imagining the smiles on their faces as they opened their gifts and the laughter that would fill the house as they played the family game I included. I felt their joy as a family together and it filled my heart with so much happiness. Giving to others is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
I may not be able to mother my own children this year, but I found a way that it feels like I am mothering. I found a way to share my love, my kindness, and my generosity to others. I found my way back to being a mother at Christmas.