Dear Mom

Mother’s Day is not only about being a mom, but loving a mom. It’s been said that you’ll never really know what your mom went through until you become one, and I find myself often thinking things like, “that must have been hard on my mother”, “she must have been proudest at times like these”, and “I’m tired, she must have been so tired sometimes.”

My mother is the kind that will be happy with the smallest thing. She never expected much for herself, in fact her needs often took a backseat. But as we approach this day, while she’d be content with a Hallmark card (I pick out some good ones), a flower, or the other usual gift, I thought it best in my 30th year to instead write her this, and share her with you too.

Dear Mom,

As I stumble along finding my place as a mother, I want you to know you made it look so seamless. For the past 30 years you’ve floated along, loving me and guiding me and being a constant force. Maybe that’s why I have found it hard at times. See, I believed from watching you that mothering was a task that just came to us women. Turns out this deal can be hard as hell. You must have spent some nights crying or yelling into the pillow. Lord knows I have. This Mother’s Day, instead of giving you the material thanks, I want you give you this, from my heart.

Thank you for never wavering in your love for me. Not a day has passed by in my 30 years of life that I thought you didn’t love me. I am finding it is not always easy to show love, somehow you managed to do it even on your angriest days.

Thank you for never judging me. I never believed I had to be anything specific, I just had to find myself and be my best. I wish you would have told me how hard that would be, but in true ‘you’ form, you let me figure it out for myself! 🙂 You never put me down or told me what I wanted was wrong. Looking back, that was the best gift you could have given me. You never put me down when I was in horrific shambles. You just stood fast and said, “You’ll get through it, you always do, you’re enough.” I’m not sure you know how much that meant.

When I told you I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to have children of my own, or that I didn’t think this marriage would survive, or that I really thought life was too big for me at times and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, you never once told me what to do. Instead you gave me courage. You told me to look inside myself, and that you would love me no matter what I did, or what I became. Because you never forced your opinion or beliefs on me,  you forced me to form my own. You forced me to mold myself. You forced me to be the best version of me I could be, and you still do.

Thank you for being so proud of me, no matter what I did. Each new adventure I’d come to you with, you would just say, “you can do it”, and you knew I probably would. The day I graduated high school, and college the first time, and college the second time, and got new apartments, and got new jobs and promotions and decided to take on bigger and bigger challenges, you were always there. You never expected me to do any of those things. I always knew you would love me even if I was half the person I am today, but it was that endless love that pushed me to do more.

Thank you for showing me God and Jesus, as best you knew how. Thank you for helping me have faith, when I had none. Thank you for never telling me what to believe, but making sure if nothing else, I believed in myself.

Thank you for showing me the value of telling the truth. I always knew if I misbehaved, there would be consequences, but the consequences for lying to you were the worst, because it hurt you more than anything else I did. You taught me that lying is dangerous, that it hurts relationships and once trust is broken, it is not easily earned back.

Thank you for showing me the value of hard work. For teaching me that I can have and do anything I want, if I move my ass and light a fire in my soul. No one would hand me anything and to this day, you were right. I am so thankful that you taught me this one especially. When my friends had new gadgets, clothes and free rides, I had to work. Man I was pissed. Today I want you to know that you were so right (although, you already knew that!), and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Thank you for showing me your financial confidence. There MUST have been times when the ends were barely met (I know, because now I’ve been there) but you never shared it with me. All you did was feed us, clothe us, and give us what we needed. We knew we weren’t rich, but because you were responsible, we were covered. I’ll never forget that.

Thank you for showing me some serious strength. When times got tough in our family, you had every right to breakdown, but something in your heart said to keep fighting. I know that too, because I’ve been there too. You showed me that marriage was hard. That commitment meant WORK and when you said ‘in sickness and in health’, you meant it. It’s been a theme in my soul for a long time and I owe that to you. You showed me that the most important relationship was a good marriage first. That if you didn’t fight for your spouse, no one else would. You never gave up, in so many aspects, and for that, you have burned an example into me that has been the only guide I’ve had at times, and I’m a better woman for it.

Thank you for teaching me to love simplicity. You know how my brain gets going and my dreams get larger than life. You are familiar with this personality type, because you’re married to it. You reminded me to keep my feet on the ground and remember to breathe. You showed me I can be a superstar while still enjoying the basics.

Thank you for keeping your door open. Always. You never shut it on me. I still call your home my home, and I still often want nothing more than to sit on the swing in the backyard, hear birds, feel wind on my face, smell fresh cut grass and see my childhood. Having that home to return to has brought me back to reality more times than I can count.

Thank you for teaching me to laugh. Laugh at myself and laugh when everything is failing. Thank you for singing me High Hopes (Sinatra) as far back as I can remember. Sorry I got pissed when I found out at 21 that you didn’t make it up. In your defense, you never told me you did 🙂

Thank you for setting the blended family stage by never calling my brother my “half-brother”. Thank you for never hindering my relationship with him when I was old enough to try to create one. Thank you for always allowing me to feel whatever I wanted to feel.

Thank you for teaching me to respect myself and others.Thank you for reminding me not to be so hard on myself, because you know I am. Thank you for teaching me that my body was mine and that it was meant to be cherished and protected.  I never have forgotten our talks about this, and today I am a much stronger woman for knowing that not only my brain and heart were special but my body was as well.

Thank you for taking in my son as your own and treating him exactly the same as your blood grandchildren. This is probably one of the most touching for me. You didn’t have to and yet you always did. You never turned him away, even when things were so nasty. All those times that I was terrified to bring him into the family, that I was afraid I was doing this all wrong, that I didn’t know what to expect or how he should behave or what the hell I was doing. Every time you’d say, ‘he is not a step, he is just a boy and the country is good for him. He is always welcome’.

Last but not least, thank you for doing your best. This parenting thing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And you and I both know I’ve done some hard things. This tops the list. I just wanted you to know that every single time I have a rough day, something to celebrate, or I just plain am working through my life with a child in tow, I think of how hard you worked and how much you sacrificed. I think of how I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. And I am so blessed to have had 30 years with you. I pray for a million more. You mean the entire world to me.

A thousand thank yous would never be enough.

All my love.

 

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