I have the handprints in a frame. I have the popsicle jewelry box. I even have the photo calendar. What I don't have is my older son. But I can't have him. Not this year.
For those of you who haven't been following my story, the short version is that my bipolar son has been in prison since March 24. He will turn 21 this month behind bars. And I will celebrate Mother's Day without him. To read the entire story, visit my blog at http://stillhopefulmom.blogspot.com.
My younger son, 16, is with me, and of course, I am extremely grateful for him. But there is something about Mother's Day that makes a mother need to gather all her children around her. I ache for my older son's hug. I need to hold his hand. I miss him terribly.
As I type this, tears are streaming down my face. Tears of sadness, yes, but also tears of regret. I am constantly wondering if I failed him as a mother. Was there something else I could have done that would have led him down a different path?
A Twitter friend, @FarFrmParadise http://farfromparadise.org., recently posted “It's Their Journey”. She said we as parents often try to take responsibility for our children's choices. We can't, she says. And I know this. Yet, I still catch myself doing it. Read her post. It's exactly what I needed to read as I face this first Mother's Day without him.
So on this Mother's Day, take your child's hand and squeeze it. Let them make you breakfast or color you a picture or take you out to dinner or bring you flowers. Let them love you.
And as my wise blogger friend says, remember, it's their journey, so don't blame yourself if their path leads astray. Just love them. Always love them. And hold on to their hand prints. You never know if that's all you'll have to hold on to someday.