You turn 73 in a couple of weeks. You have done so much in your 73 years. I know you’d beg to differ, but you are far too humble. Believe me when I say that you have done A LOT with your life. I am proud to call you my mom. Every. Single. Day, I am proud.
As you approach your 73rd birthday and I approach my 38th, I find myself thinking a lot about our relationship. I often reflect on all the good times we’ve shared. Unfortunately, I also replay the not-so-good moments in my head. I think about the times we’ve disagreed and engaged in unnecessary arguments. I think about all the times I was mad at you when my anger and frustration wasn’t really about you. I think about how difficult it’s been for me to manage YOUR aging process with grace (far more difficult than I ever imagined).
We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs. I am grateful that the ups are what I remember the most. As a child, I always felt loved. In my eyes, you were flawless. When I heard your keys unlocking the door every evening, after a painfully hard day at work, I would get up and run. I always greeted you with a kiss and a smile. Watching The Facts of Life while eating my favorite snacks wasn’t enough to keep me away from you.
As I grew up, our relationship changed–a lot. Looking back, I think we just didn’t understand each other. You didn’t understand my need for more freedom and independence, and I did understand your need to stay deeply connected to me–especially after losing your mother and brother in the same year. I wish I had the wisdom to give you more of what you needed without losing sight of my own needs, but I just didn’t back then. I was too busy trying to find my way in the world.
I know I have failed you in many ways. But don’t get me wrong; I also know I’ve been a good daughter. I’ve done my very best. And my best has changed from year to year. When you know better, you do better, right? But I pray that you understand all of my failures as a daughter have never been about you. Ever. Those mistakes have been about my own growth and development as a woman. Those mistakes have shaped me into the person I am today.
Mom, I don’t know how much longer you will be here. I hope God has another 25 years in store for you, but I am a realist. You taught me to be one. That said, I also know that your time on this earth may be limited. Should that be the case, I don’t want you to leave me without knowing what an influential role you’ve played in my life.
You’ve taught me how to be courageous.
You’ve taught me how to love fully and completely.
You’ve taught me how to provide for my children.
You’ve taught me the importance of pursuing my dreams.
You’ve taught me to always strive to do the right thing.
You’ve taught me how to turn to God for all my needs.
You have taught me how to be strong.
So if you ever have a moment when you question how good of a mom you’ve been, please place that doubt aside. Please know that I could not have asked God for a better mom. Please know that despite any unpleasant words we’ve exchanged, I have never doubted your love for me. Not ever.
And because you have been so open and honest with me about your life, I have made carefully made certain decisions in my own. That means none of your mistakes in life have been in vain. And I hope I have the courage to share all my ups and downs with my kids when they grow up, so my mistakes won’t be in vain either.
So whether you are here for another 5 years or another 25 years, I hope we never part ways with words unsaid. I hope you always know that you live in my heart. Your love has sustained me since I was created in January of 1978. Your embrace has brought me comfort since I entered the world in October of that same year.
There are no perfect mothers. None. As hard as I may try to make the right choices, I know I am messing up. More than I care to admit some days of the week. But despite my imperfections, I know that I am the perfect mom for my kids, just like you are the perfect mom for me. I know that if every decision I make is rooted in love, things will turn out okay. Maybe they won’t be okay at first, but they will turn out okay.
With each day, I understand something about you that I didn’t understand the day before. I see your strength and how you have fought against so many health issues. I see how life has been hard on you in so many ways, but you are still standing. I see that my job now is to try my best to understand where you are in life because I would want the same from my children. Watching a parent age isn’t easy, but I suspect it’s a lot easier than aging is.
I get it in a way that I didn’t 10 years ago. My hope is that I continue to do my best while showering you with the love you deserve.
So in these days and years that we have left together, let us love each other deeply. Let us forgive one another with ease. Let us remember that God’s decision to place us together was no mistake. It was by design.
I am the perfect daughter for you, and you the perfect mother for me.
Loving you always and forever,