Happy Mother (Figures) Day: Here’s to Those Who Claim & Love Us

We do so many things simply because we feel we must.

I’ve been saying for years that I want to create a line of Dysfunctional Greeting Cards. It’s be like Hallmark, but for f@cked up families. They would say things like, “Happy Mother’s Day! Purchasing this card ensures that I don’t feel guilty and eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for breakfast!”

There are few things we’ll wait longer for and with more anticipation than for our parents to change. We ache to hear them say how proud they are of us. We look for them to become available as confidants, mentors, and supports. Nothing is more basic to life than our parents (caregivers regardless of gender) and nothing is more damaging to a person’s self-worth than to not actively experience their unconditional love and approval.

When we choose to stop waiting –and release the false hope that they will meet our needs (as painful as that is), we become free to form healthier connections – kinship ties (intimate friendships) that fill the long standing emptiness. I have been blessed to have two mothers beyond my biological mother and I am forever indebted and grateful for the countless ways in which they’ve enriched my life and fostered my growth.

That’s what mom’s do best – they nurture. To nurture is to inspire and facilitate growth, healing, and learning. They believe in you when you don’t and they push you to become the best possible version of you. Moms root for you and ache for you and worry about you. They call just to see how you’re doing because they really want to know.

It f@cking wrecked me to receive this. It tore me down and built me back up. It gave me the most precious of gifts – faith in myself. It made me a believer in me. It took away the lie that I was not enough. To be claimed – to be loved by people who didn’t have to…made the world a different place to me.

The first time Tara referred to me as belonging to her I read it in an email. I sat and cried for a very long time. Tara is a mother to countless children. We belong to her because we don’t belong – because we’re misfits – because we’re f@cked up.

Misfits are the black sheep and scapegoats of their families of origin (weird, but we’re most often both). We’re the ones who got written off with a simple, “I just don’t understand you” or a “We just don’t know where we went wrong…” We’re the ones who got sick of pretending and acting like everything was just f@cking fine.

“In our family portrait we look pretty happy…we look pretty normal.” – Pink “Family Portrait”

Here’s to the Taras of the world. You inspired me to love as you love. Today I am a dad to countless “kids.” They are mine because I claim them. They are mine because their biological families fail to recognize how truly amazing they are and love them as they deserve to be loved.

It’s great to be a misfit. We are the very best kind of people and no one loves more fiercely than we.

Just stop waiting for those who should but don’t and receive those of us who shouldn’t but do.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in assisting people in recovery (whether from drugs, alcohol, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.