In lieu of flowers…
You are everything to me. It’s true, growing up I didn’t see you as a person with unique desires, needs, and strengths. All your attributes were clothed in your role as “Mom” to me. This used to terrify me to my bones. In my eyes, you exuded selflessness, while I wore a selfish plated armor. Your selflessness spoiled me, and there were definitely moments I forgot the depth of gifts you bestowed upon us.
And then I became a Mom. And a few things happened. To start, I no longer saw you as “just” my Mom. I began to see your strengths, weaknesses, beauty, imperfect perfections, needs, desires, and courage. I see you as a Mom, but also a person. Secondly, my initial fear of my children seeing me as “just” a mom subsided, and I began to understand what an ultimate compliment it will be for them to see me as “just” a Mom.
Because there is no “just” about it. It is my most important role in this world, and if I get nothing else right in this lifetime, I hope I get this. You see, a mom is your ultimate advocate, guide, nurturer, friend, angel, and protector. A mom does not have to see you with rose colored glasses. A mom can see you for ALL of your faults, and know you possibly better than you know yourself. Yet a (good) mom STILL loves you unconditionally. I have been loved by many. But I have never beheld a love so honest as your love for me.
We are many things to many different people. Maybe my children won’t notice I am intelligent. Maybe they won’t notice I am athletic. Maybe they won’t notice I have hobbies and passions outside of them. Of course, maybe they also won’t notice how clumsy I am, my insecurities, think I talk too fast and too much, that I am a bit older than some of the other moms, that I have gained or lost weight. A children’s love is innocently tainted in our favor, and it is as jarring as it is beautiful to be loved in a way where all that really matters is at the end of the day you are “just” their MOM.
And then again maybe they will notice but won’t care. Because so long as my children notice they can come to me with complete trust that I will be there for them with open arms, then that will be “just” enough for me.
The thing is, you see me. And I want you to know I NOW see you. I haven’t always, and I am sorry for that. I saw you as my ultimate advocate, guide, nurturer, friend, angel, and protector. But now I see you as a person too in all your faults and glory. And I can give you the type of true honest love, only a grownup daughter can really give their Mom. You are my person no matter what.
There is another caveat unearthed through the births of my children. As you (obviously) know, I didn’t bless you with an easy journey. There were times I could not escape the guilt of the hells I knew I put you through.
Truth be told, I now kind of know that is OK. You were strong enough to handle it, and you became my mom without hope of a perfect child. I feel brave enough (because of you) to face whatever journeys my children might put me through. Of course their pain will cause me pain--I am their mom. But it is a pain you embrace wholeheartedly knowing you wouldn’t trade this journey with them for unlimited “easy” days without them.
So “thank you” for being “just” my mom to me. It made me feel special in all of the egocentric ways children are meant to feel adored. And on that note I will add “your welcome” for being your daughter because I now know what a gift even us crazy daughters truly are.