One of the things I’ve really prided myself on is the way in which we incorporate Easton’s biological parents into his life. It’s a really important part of his story and we honor their place in his world.
He opens a present from them every birthday and Christmas and we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day by lighting candles in their memory. We also have celebrated each of their birthdays with muffins in the mornings and singing the happy birthday song to them. Instead of their names, we keep their role in his life alive by saying “first mommy in Heaven” or “first daddy in Heaven”.
But this is going to take a crappy twist and this next part is mostly about my parenting selfish fail that I believe is an important one to share. It’s also about owning up to it and recognizing how to be a better person in the same situation next time.
We didn’t celebrate his mother’s birthday this year. It was a few weeks ago and it wasn’t by accident, it was on purpose.
While the details are not important, my relationship with her and her family has endured a lot of fighting on both of our ends over the years. Recently that fighting has peaked and I have been so angry (really pissed off, actually) and bothered with everyone. The thought of even celebrating Easton's mother was repulsive and frankly just not even a priority for me. I pushed it off to the back burner where I had every intention of keeping it.
And that’s where I went wrong in this whole situation. I was hurting the one person this mattered to the most because of my own selfish excuses. All of my reasons were just that, excuses. At the time I was only thinking about myself and the legitimate reasons I didn’t want to celebrate. I wasn’t thinking about Easton. Sometimes the emotions that get the best of us happen at the worst times.
One day our hope is that when Easton looks back on his childhood, he can say that his biological parents were always alive in his life. We want him to always know that we incorporated them in every way we could think of and that he truly knows how much they loved him. We want him to know that we tried our best to keep their memory alive for him.
So instead of sugar coating it with a “today is your mommy’s birthday!” or “opps we forgot to celebrate her birthday!”, I explained the truth to him in the way a 4 year old can comprehend. I told him I was angry and that I didn’t want to celebrate but I also explained how that decision is wrong and unfair to him. It’s important to own up to our mistakes as parents and allow our children to see us confessing how we went wrong. One of my parenting philosophies is to tell the truth even when it makes us look bad. It was an important lesson for all of my kids today: mommy and daddy aren’t perfect and do things wrong too. But the important thing is to admit to it, talk it through, give lots of hugs and love, and move forward without dwelling on the past.
I debated all morning about posting this, since true and selfish parenting fails are not the norm to talk about. But I started this blog to talk about my journey through motherhood. This is just one of those stops along the journey that has really, really made me swallow my pride and own feelings for the best interest of my son.
I’m not proud of keeping his mother’s birthday away from him and the amount of guilt I’ve felt over the last few days hasn’t been fun. But it’s never been about me. Somewhere along the last month or so, I’ve fighting for me and my feelings. I forgot that a little boy lost both of his parents and he has every right to celebrate the woman that brought him into this world.
His fifth birthday is coming up next month and the present his parents in Heaven will give him is still undecided. I'll take suggestions though :)