Well, it was time of year again. It was my mom and I’s birthday weekend, and as some of you may know from previous posts, my mom passed away in 1997. In the past we always shared our birthday’s together, even after I moved out of state. There was only one birthday we didn’t spend together, and it was our last one in 1997. I don’t remember if we planned it that way or if it didn’t happen due to circumstances.
After she passed away, our birthday became a time of regretting that we weren’t together for our last birthday. Then in 2000, I decided that I would celebrate our birthday by doing something I’ve never done before or going somewhere I’ve never been to. I chose this as my mom had always had a love for travel, but kept it to places where she knew people. Her tendency to limit herself was also a lesson I learned and lived for so long. Choosing this way to celebrate our birthday is a way that I can challenge limiting beliefs by celebrating freedom and self care.
This year in particular was significant in that I turned 41, which is the age my mother was when she had me. I realized this about a month ago and it freaked me out. It felt like some kind of existential vortex. When I brought this up to my therapist we revisited enmeshment, and by the end f the session, I realized that, although a part of me still identifies with my mother, at my core, I am still my own person.
So this year, at 1:18 am on our birthday, I sat in meditation. I imagined my mother in labor. I imagined the roller coaster of emotions and physical pain she must have gone through. I remembered that she wouldn’t allow herself to make a lot of noise during labor, mainly because she saw it as weak (which I translate as her belief that “I don’t get to have my feelings”). I also remembered her telling me that I was a quick birth. This made me laugh a little because I’ve always been impatient.
As the time of my birth passed, I meditated on gratitude, and loving kindness. And slowly I could feel the part of me that is my own person grow. I suppose this birthday has birthed in me a greater understanding that I am separate from my mom.
Yes, we share the same name, the same birthday, and many characteristics. I was created in her, and she birthed me to live out my life as best I could. I lived in her shadow for many years, and it is now that I can step into my own light, with gratitude for what she gave me, and compassion for what she could not give me.
As for the rest of the day, I drove to Northern California for the weekend and visited a few towns I’ve never been to before. That freedom to go to new places alone is something I appreciate about our birthday, as it has helped me to do the same internally.