This is a letter I wrote (but never sent) for and about my mother on her last Mother’s Day before her little girl became a Mrs.
I know this is hard on you.
Today on the phone when I squeaked out that I was getting married in five days, you sighed your agreement like it was your consent to exile.
I’m growing up and that scares you. Time does that.
It scares me too, because I know I won’t have you forever.
Someday a layoff, a fight, or some looming threat I don’t know how to handle on my own will happen and I won’t be able to call you.
Young children cry for their mothers when they’re scared and I still cry for you, Mom. You’re always there for me with patience and understanding. No judgment, just love.
Remember when I was a kid and we’d argue?
We’d yell at each other and you’d send me to my room. I would resentfully trudge upstairs, stomping my feet on every step, and slam the door – you’d yell at me for that too.
I would sit on the edge of my bed and run through a list of all the injustices I imagined had befallen me, and while I was doing that my door would creak open and in you’d come.
You’d sit on the bed next to me while I pretended not to notice, put an arm around me, and tell me “You know, I love you, even when I’m mad at you.”
You taught me how to love, mom.
Even as you were teaching me how to do laundry, cook, drive, and be a good hostess (skills I’ll admit I sometimes neglect now that I’m a grown-up,) you taught me how to love.
You taught me how to worry, too, as well as how to nurture and how to fight.
When my soon-to-be husband and I argue, I lay with him on the bed and tell him, “I love you, even when I’m mad at you.”
It’s easy to say “I don’t know where I’d be without you.”
I needed you to raise me when I was little, to teach me, to care for me; but even as an adult, I’ve gone through so many things that might have broken me down without your support.
I guess I just wanted to say thank you.
I know I’ll never be able to give back as much as you’ve given me, but I hope I one day will have the opportunity to pass it forward.
Mom, I promise you’re not exiled.
I know you don’t want to hear it, but in a couple years or so I’m going to have a child of my own. It’s still a way off, but I think about that a lot.
I think about what kind of person I am and what you and dad did to help me become that person. I hope I can be everything for my own kids that you have been for me.
No matter what, I will turn to you for advice every step along the way.