“I didn’t,” you replied. “I just loved you with all my heart.”
I look at my three-week old daughter and I remind myself of when you told me this years ago. Every time she coos, cries, and coughs…every time she sleeps, stretches, and smiles, I remind myself of this.
And I tell her, “I don’t know how to be a perfect mom, my angel, but I promise to love you with all my heart.”
I think to myself, “I hope that is enough.” And then I think about how I feel towards you, Mom, and I know that it will be more than enough.
All daughters hear it many times: “You’ll understand when you are a mom one day.” I believed that to be true, but I didn’t expect to understand so quickly and so clearly.
As much as I want to hug and squeeze my daughter all day and night, I find myself wanting to hug and squeeze you just as much, Mom. I constantly hear my heart whispering, “Thank you, Mom,” “I am so sorry, Mom,” and, now-more-than-ever, “I love you, Mom.”
Thank you, Mom. Thank you for holding me near your chest to snuggle so much that I still crave your scent. It brings happy tears to my eyes when I pick up my baby after you’ve left our home and she smells the same way I remember you smelling when I was a little girl.
Thank you for teaching me the importance of family and friendship. I’ve watched you be the rock that holds our family together with love, honesty, respect, and laughter, no matter where in the world each of us is living. And I’ve watched you be there for friends and family in need, as well as graciously and gratefully accept help from others when you needed it.
Thank you for encouraging me to leave home and see the world even though I know it must have been so hard for you to watch me do. I’ve watched you fight back tears as you’ve waved good-bye so many times, knowing you were allowing me to gain independence, experience, and new perspectives on life that ultimately led me to appreciate where I come from even more.
Thank you for showing me how to be a wife and a mother and still go after my own personal dreams. I’ve watched you set goals and experience the rising and falling journey that transpires while trying to achieve them. I’ve seen you be a strong, independent woman who recognizes her own needs and works hard to make sure they are met, even if people on the outside don’t understand. Because of you, I know that doing so isn’t selfish; it is necessary for your health and happiness. And when you are healthy and happy, your family is, too.
Thank you for teaching me manners and how to keep a clean and warm home.
Thank you for teaching me how to prepare a meal for company and how to dress properly for certain occasions.
Thank you for letting me be myself, even when I know it must’ve felt like I was straying from you.
Thank you for picking up the phone every single time I call you.
Thank you for teaching me how to apologize and for accepting all of mine.
Thank you for showing me what real love looks like and what it takes to make a marriage of over thirty years last.
Thank you for choosing a man to marry who taught me what kind of man I should marry.
Thank you for loving me so much that it hurt you so many times.
And for that, I am sorry, Mom. I am sorry for the times I said mean things that hurt your feelings. I am sorry for the times I didn’t listen to you and you had to watch me get hurt, a lot. I am sorry I wasn’t able to understand where you were coming from so many times until now, though I know you don’t hold any of this against me.
I am sorry for any time I made you sad or angry or scared. I know now how hard it must have been for you to feel that way because of me and how you likely felt misunderstood so many times. I know you probably couldn’t wait for me to get to a place where I would say this to you, but at the same time didn’t want to rush a single second of my life for fear of me growing up too fast. I wish I could take away all of the tears you cried because of me, but I know I can’t, and I know this is only the beginning of a lifetime of me “understanding” you.
I want you to know how much I love you, Mom, and that I wouldn’t change a single thing, not a single choice you made when raising me. Because, when I look back on my life, what I really remember now is how much you loved me. I always felt your love, no matter where I was or what I was doing. It was your love that led me to where I am today, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
And so, because of you Mom, I know how to do it. I know how to be a “such a good mom,” just like you are.
And I thank the heavens above that my little girl has you as a grandmother.