This is a hard post to write, but I didn’t get a Mother’s Day card in the mail (sorry Mom, I am a horrible child).
Hard because I wanted to write a thank you letter to my mom, but it feels way too daunting a task. What could I say, how could I possibly find a way to express all of the things she’s done for me, all of the things she’s given me, all of the things that have made me the person I am today?
And even if I did find a way to do that, find a way to tell her these things, while all of them are important, there really is only one gift that matters when we talk about moms. When I talk about my mom.
But if I did make that list, it would have to include these things at least:
- I would talk about being a latchkey kid; I didn’t have a stay-at-home mom like most of my friends. Sometimes it was lonely but there were definite benefits – I learned to cook, and, unlike most of my friends, got to watch Dark Shadows every afternoon. I learned how to do things for myself, that it was okay to be independent, and smart, and capable. I also learned that women, that moms, work.
- I would say how cool, and how pretty my mom is. I always thought she looked like Mary Tyler Moore. Or actually, that Mary Tyler Moore looked like my mom. I could list all of the times growing up that I would look at her and think, wow, my mom is the coolest mom ever.
- I would tell you about the things she did that scarred me for life – like the time we watched “Night of the Hunter” when I was around eight. I am still scared to death of Robert Mitchum and Shelly Winters.
- I would tell you about the time on a visit home from college, that my mom, taking me aside after a poorly timed comment in front of my cop step-father about recreational substance use, enlightened me to the concept of “need to know basis.”
- I would have to include the time I accomplished something or other, I honestly don’t remember what it was, and I was upset that she didn’t tell me she was proud of me. When I asked her why, she said “of course I’m proud of you, I am always proud of you.”
I could go on, but I don’t want to be writing this until next Mother’s Day.
So, here’s what I would have said in the card that I didn’t manage to get mailed:
We’ve had our ups and downs lately and there have been times when I wanted something from you that I thought I wasn’t getting – I wanted you to be proud of me even if you didn’t agree with my choices. And then I got thinking that it’s kind of unfair how we all want unconditional love from our parents, but it doesn’t seem to be much of a two way street – we don’t often talk about unconditional love for our parents. And then you called me out of the blue and told me you were proud of me.
I started to make a list of all the things that you’ve done for me, all of the gifts you’ve given me, all that I’ve learned from you, but partway through I realized that while those things are all great, there’s really one thing that matters, one thing that trumps all the others – you are always there for me. I always know that I have a home to go to, and that it is wherever you are. What a gift that is. To know that wherever I am, there is someone, there is my mom, who will always take me in, always be there no matter what.
Thank you for that Mom. Thank you for everything, and happy Mother’s Day.
I love you,
P.S. And thanks for always being the coolest mom around.