When I was much younger than I am now, I didn’t understand sooo many things you did. Or maybe I should say, WHY you did the things you did.
You would often sigh, then attempt to explain yourself, “You’ll understand when you become a mom.”
And boy were you right…
Now that I’ve made it through one year of motherhood, there are a few things I can finally say I understand.
- I understand why you didn’t allow me to host a ton of sleepovers. For future reference, I will probably lock myself in my bedroom, too. That’s too much estrogen at one sleepover.
- I get why you’d yell and give us “The Look” when Paige and I would fight about who got to play with what Barbie. How annoying…
- I now know why you worked three jobs when my sisters and I were little. And why you work so hard now. It’s not about being little and naive; it’s about being grown and aware. You’ve always wanted to provide us girls with the best that you possibly could. For that, I thank you incredibly.
- I get why you disciplined me often (unlike my friend’s parents) when I wasn’t using my best judgement. You were just looking out for me, not trying to ruin my life. (LOL)
- I understand why you were NOT, in fact, my best friend during my high school years. You taught me that being a mom first and a friend second makes for a more respectable kid.
- I get why I had a curfew. Your intentions weren’t to be the “mean mom”; you were teaching me responsibility and how to prioritize.
- I understand why you made me call you when I safely arrived everywhere I drove. I couldn’t imagine worrying about the whereabouts of my children. I’m sorry for the times I completely forgot to do so.
- I know why you were hurt when I said words out of anger. You taught me when anger dominates one’s actions, nothing positive emanates from it.
- I understand why you didn’t have breakfast and supper ready for us every morning and night. Although I probably like cooking more than you, I’ll be surprised if my kids get a home cooked meal EVERY night.
- I understand why you were sad when we left to spend the weekend with our dad, but in those same teary eyes, I saw a sense of relief. You were sad to see us go, but excited for some much needed “me time.”
- I get why chatting with me on the phone for minutes, even hours someday is reassuring for you, too. Sometimes, a girl just needs a reviving chat with her mama, while her mama needs to vent about the stress of work.
- Whew, motherhood is tough – thank you for happily giving me a break whenever I need extra sleep. I completely understand why most of the time you’re just itching for a Deklyn/Nana date. I’ll exchange that for some solid sleep.
- I now know why you chose staying at home over going out drinking with your friends in your early 20’s. There’s no drama or hangovers when choosing a relaxing night in with your daughter.
- Lastly, I understand why you loved me through all my mistakes and imperfections. There’s no love like the love for your child.
See, the thing is Mom, I always knew you were protecting me, but back then I didn’t understand why. That was my big thing growing up, “but… why?” And now that I’m all grown up with my own little girl, I know why. And I’m sorry I gave you such a hard time and questioned you so much. I understand now, Mom.
Your “why” was being a good mom and protecting what was rightfully yours. It was saying “no” when you really, badly wanted to say “yes.” You knew what was better for me than I knew for myself. Your “why” was knowing that, even though I didn’t understand then – I would soon understand when I was raising my own children. Although you were very strict, it was for a good reason. The strictness stemmed from your own parents’ lenience.
You’ve demonstrated strength, courage, determination, and most importantly, unconditional love. You’ve sacrificed your time, energy, and favorite extracurriculars for my sisters and I. I value your work ethic and your ability to sleep only a few hours per night, then head back to work again. I could probably do that… if my life depended on it.
You knew I’d thank you someday when I understood.
Thank you, Mom.
- Thank you for having patience when it was the toughest to keep your “cool.”
- Thank you for wiping my tears when my friends would leave me out or when I had a bad day at school.
- Thank you for playing with my hair and rubbing my back when I was sick in elementary school. Sharing that big, comfy recliner with two little ones wasn’t your idea of relaxing.
- I know I went to four different schools, but Mom, thank you for doing what was best for our family – no matter how many times we had to move. Don’t worry, I made lots of friends.
- Thank you for telling me that everyone makes mistakes and explaining why it’s OK to make those mistakes! I can still remember you saying, “Those who believe they don’t make mistakes are only fooling themselves. Mistakes allow us to learn and grow.”
- Thank you for being my biggest fan in every stage of life – kindergarten drawings, sports, my college education, various projects, business venture ideas, hunting, motherhood… You have never lost sight of supporting me when it came to my goals and dreams.
- Speaking of sports, thank you for the endless trips consisting solely of AAU basketball tournaments, Penn State camps, Lakeland college camps, UW-Platteville camps – the list goes on. You ensured Paige and I utilized sports resources wisely, with your financial help. You were such a trooper!
- Thank you for sewing and stitching my little family and I blankets for Christmas, Mom. They are so beautiful; you have a rare and unique talent.
- Thank you for giving me your cool Mercury Cougar as my first vehicle when I turned 16. Then Bonnie after I rolled the Cougar. (I’m sorry!) And the new truck for Christmas last year. You’ve always made sure I was traveling in a safe vehicle.
- Thank you for taking us girls on a trip to Oakland, California one year, then Universal Studios the next when we were younger. I know you may have used your “cushion” money at the time, thank you for always putting our wishes above your own (even though you loved those trips as much as we did.)
- Thank you for understanding when an exam I studied so diligently for didn’t match my expectation. I’ll always remember you preaching “C’s get degrees, just do your best. Don’t worry about me being proud of you – I already am, Bear.”
- My generation is full of individuals who don’t even know how to do laundry. Thank you for raising me to be the independent woman I am and not needing your assistance and guidance every step of the way.
- Thank you for paying my rent through college and helping me pay bills as I’m going through this post-graduate, job searching rough patch. I will never be able to express how much I value your unconditional support.
- Thank you for casually stopping by with two weeks worth of groceries. Gosh, groceries are expensive. I hope you know how much that helps, Mom.
- Thank you for holding my hand during the entirety of my labor. You made the hours pass by much smoother. When you saw your first grand baby in that delivery room, I soaked in how absolutely beautiful the cycle of life truly is.
- You’re the strongest woman I know, Mom. Thank you for leading by example, instead of solely by your words.
- And thank you, Mom. Thank you for being a great mommy, an amazing nana, and an even better friend.
I can finally say I understand what it feels like to be a mom now.
You gave me the gift of life when you were only 19. You were just a kid yourself. What’s even more amazing is you put 100% of your effort towards being an incredible mom at that young age. I’m certain of this because the evidence shows. You took the time to: write in my baby book, record precious (and hilarious) videos of my toddler years, and teach me how to accomplish certain milestones, like taking my first steps.
Mom, thank you for passing down some of your best qualities. You pushed me to be the best version of myself and raised me to be self-sufficient. You taught me that nothing worth having comes easy and to work for what I want, rather than simply expect everything to be handed to me.
Because of you, Mom, I’m not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. You’ve shown me perseverance in every way possible, I’ll carry that with me through life. I’m proud to say I’ve inherited your wisdom and your compassionate heart. I don’t think I’ve met a more generous, nurturing, and resilient woman.
Mom – YOU make ME proud. I’m proud YOU are the person that gave me life. You made me proud when you received your Bachelor’s degree with three kids at home. You made me proud when you moved forward with your Master’s, while continuing to work a full-time, demanding career. Quite often when I was in high school, you worked 16 hour days and STILL made an appearance at my basketball games. I was proud of you then, I’m proud of you now, and I’ll continue to be proud of you for all of your accomplishments. I’m thankful every day I was blessed with a Mom so incredibly loving, humble, and supportive. Although you’ve raised me to be a tough nugget, you’ve shown me first-hand how one person can change the world. I’m proud to say you’ve shown me light in my darkest times. For that, I can never repay you.
To say that you have been and will continue to be the most amazing mother a girl could ever imagine having, is a huge understatement. I want you to know that words can never begin to describe the immense amount of love and support you’ve given me. I never thought I’d say this, because I didn’t understand then, but… You are my best friend, Mom.
Thank you for EVERYTHING you have done for me, my little family, and my two sisters. You are my hero. I hope to be half the woman you are.
I love you, Mama. Thank you.
P.S. I’ll always be your “Baby Bear.”