A child can take a piece of ripped, wrinkled construction paper, a broken crayon, scribble something not even decipherable and yet be ever so proud. Proud like it’s the most beautiful and exciting thing ever. And it is. Because it’s their heart that’s really there on the paper, eager for Mom to hang it on the fridge. A display of acceptance. Joy. Pride.
I felt like that child today, except without a mom.
Sometimes, the absence is louder than others. Some days it messes with my confidence. Today was one of those days. I long for the voice that says, “You’re doing great! I’m so proud of you!” But that voice isn’t there.
I’ve always wanted a mom who wanted me. Wanted to know me. Enjoyed sending time with me. I could share anything with her because she was safe and invested in my heart. Life didn’t exactly work out that way though. So how do you flip the script on emotional absence? It’s the question I ask myself every day.
As I sat at my kitchen table this morning, I thought about how my mom’s fridge has nothing from me on it. Her home has not a single picture of me anywhere. But as I looked at my fridge I thought about how I can hang anything I want on my fridge. I can cover it in words of encouragement. I can be proud of me. And this is another step I can take. So I took a piece of paper and scribbled with marker, “Don’t give up. You’re doing a great job.” And just like that, I stuck it on my fridge door.
Perhaps small, but for me, it was one more step towards learning how to nurture and love myself.