I’m now in my late 20’s, and I have to say something.
I’m sorry for being such a little bitch when growing up.
Maybe that’s over the top. I know I was a typical teenager.
Contrary to what I may have said in those (obviously) frustrating years, I didn’t know everything. I was simply trying to figure out the world by myself in a hormonal fueled state, when school tended to suck, I was constantly tired, and it was easier to be with friends who all had a mutual understanding of what we were all going through. Balancing school, extra circulars, a part-time job, loads of homework from AP and college credit classes, trying to be a good student, trying to be a good daughter, trying my hardest in general, and for some of us, medical conditions it was hard. You tried to make it easier for me, but the fact of life is, it needs to be hard so we all grow a backbone to get through life. That hardness makes us harden and grow, like how a beating wind makes a tree grow stronger.
And I know you knew it was hard. For one, you were a teenager at one point too. You remember the pressure at home, at school, and not to mention the social and peer pressure that makes school just plain suck sometimes.
And you had to sit by and watch me go through it too. I know it was hard for you- I heard you cry at times. I cried too. I don’t think either of us liked our fights. We both tried our best, but sometimes our combined best was maybe just average. You see, we’re both stubborn and hard-headed. We’re only human. Eventually you had to let me make my own mistakes, and oh, did I ever make them. Some of them you tried to warn me, other times you knew I just had to go make that mistake and learn (sometimes slowly).
It brings be back to my first few sentences I’m sorry I was such a pain in the ass.
Because now that I’ve gotten older, lived with other people, moved out-of-state, have actually lived in the same residence for almost four years (a feat in itself), have a job and a husband- well, it makes a girl realize (and question) some things.
– I’m sorry I didn’t do “more”. At the time it felt like I was giving everything I had, but no one realizes how much you grow and stretch to do more as time goes on. Hindsight is a bitch.
-No, I didn’t know everything and how the heck did you resist just throttling me and smacking me upside the head?
-How the hell did you do it? I don’t even have kids yet. That’s still down the road. But with both my husband and I working the same job and hours, we can work 14+ hours a day every day when it’s not raining. Food still needs to be cooked, dishes still need to be washed, errands still have to be done, laundry still has to be washed and folded, a dog has to be taken care of, luggage for three months needs to be packed, house needs to be cleaned, bills paid, and on and on and on. There are times where I want to stop and scream. And let me reiterate I don’t even have kids yet.
-I’m sorry for the constant eye rolling. Again, how did you refrain from smacking me upside the head? At that angsty teenager phase, the last thing we all wanted to hear was “Just wait until you get older! You’ll understand.”
I can’t say that I’m totally at that 100% of understanding, but holy crap- I’m miles closer to understanding that comment now.
Would it have really killed me to just wash the damn dishes like you asked? Cleaned my room? Even wiped down the bathroom counter? Do my own laundry? Cut down on the back talk? The eye rolling? The stomping off? The breaking curfew? Not calling if I’m going to be late?
No. It damn sure wouldn’t have.
So, I apologize. Yes. Your stubborn hard-headed little girl is apologizing to you. I wasn’t a shitty kid, but I had shitty moments. There were times I thought I knew better what was right for myself, and you had to sit by and watch silently. There were times when I bucked your authority and strongly disliked you.
But damn it- you were right. You can freely, unabashedly, unselfishly take a moment to pat yourself on the back, gloat, and say out loud “I told you so.”
You know all of those little things though? Remember when I was so sick for that year- I still remember you buying me endless puzzle books, cooking my favorite foods to coax me to eat, renting me movies, even going to the library each week to the awesome aide there could pick out new books for me. I remember when the fevers would get so high, that you would sit with me in the bathroom while I shivered in the bathtub and cracked jokes to make me laugh. I remember the anger and rage in your eyes yelling at the doctors all while softly stroking my hand. You supported me and kept me going through painful physical therapy. You’ve held me while I’ve cried, and you’ve kicked me in the butt (verbally) when I needed a wake up call. Even when you held in your excitement at the birthday gift you got me a few years ago- the new Spirograph set because you knew how much the original set I played with growing up at Grandma’s meant to me.You put hours upon hours into my wedding because I simply didn’t have the time (and who doesn’t have time to plan their own wedding?). Or when I was home a few trips ago and go so violently sick with the flu, you stayed on the chair while I laid on the couch. Me, a 28-year-old who has obviously gotten the flu without you being there, but you were there and I needed you. I could go on and on. We all could.
When we’re teenagers and young adults, I don’t think we truly realize how much our moms do.
You self-sacrifice. You are patient and kind. You love us. You support us. You encourage us. You try to protect us for as long as you know you can.
You spend years trying to nurture us into a self-sufficient, open-minded, strong, independent woman full of dreams and opportunities. You try to prepare us for the real world.
And then in what must feel like too short of a time since you gave birth to us, you have to let us go. You let us go out into this big scary world of life, knowing that we’re going to fall. Repeatedly. We’re going to get knocked on our ass and sometimes you can’t pick us up and kiss our bruised knee to make it better.
How hard that must be for you to watch.
But, I’ll let you in on a secret. A secret that probably isn’t really such a secret after all, because you have a mother. And she had one. And generations of women have followed this path.
We all need our mother. We will always need your love, guidance, and grace. No matter how far we move, how often we don’t call (and know that we should just pick up the stupid phone for a quick call), how busy we get, how often we travel, no matter what we see and experience in life, we all need our mom.
Because I honestly don’t think that there’s a stronger bond between mother and daughter.
And when I have kids of my own some day, I’ll call you on the phone ask how the hell you did this. How did you keep sane? How did you manage? And, you’ll silently smile into the phone, tell me to take a deep breath and know that the pattern is just repeating itself.
So, this Mother’s Day, but just like every other day, I’ll tip my ball cap to you, Mom. Tip it to how strong you were, are, and will be, even when you don’t think you are.
Mom, I love you and I wouldn’t be who I am today.
To all Mothers, including the mother-like figures in all of our lives, Happy Mother’s Day.