May 09, 2011

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I can call you or text you to tell you about what a wonderful mom you are, but there is just something that makes it even more true when I shout it out to the world.

We started off rocky.  You were just a baby with a baby.  I'm sure that you had dreams for yourself that never included having a baby or a husband at such a young age, but you never complained about it.  You just did it.  I know that we didn't have a lot when I was little.  I have heard you tell me the stories about Granny taking us to buy shoes and winter coats- but I never felt like we wanted for anything.  We had fun.  We played.  We read books.  We built memories.  You made sure that we did all the things that mattered. 

You sat through endless days at swim meets.  I know that you often sacrificed and spent money that we didn't have so that we could do things like be on the swim team and go on team trips.  I didn't appreciate it then, but I do now.  I know it wasn't easy.  But you made the sacrifices with grace.

You never let on when times got tough.  You spared me the angst and let me have a happy childhood.  But you also instilled in me a sense that life is not always easy.  You taught me the value of money and hard work.  You never did and still never do anything half way. 

Then there were the teenage years.  I was horrible to you.  I didn't respect you.  I yelled really mean things at you on a daily basis.  You warned me when I dated boys that were bad for me and I ignored you.  And yet- you kept loving me even when I'm sure that my very presence made your blood boil. That right there has taught me what being a mother is all about. 

When I went off to college there was such a palpable shift in our relationship.  You raised me to be a strong, independent woman- and we both know that two of those can not live under the same roof!  College was the beginning of you becoming the one person I called everyday.  The one person whose opinion mattered to me more than anyone else's.  Like a good mom- you gave me roots and wings.

I think more than anything, I saw the person that you were meant to be when you made the decision to go to college when all your kids were out of the house.  Woman- that took guts!  You went through things during that time in college that would have made other people crumble- and somehow you still made all A's.  I am so proud of you.  You are a great nurse and for the first time in your life, you were the confident woman that you deserve to be: one who knows her worth and doesn't put up with people who don't value you and what you bring to the table.  Mom, I can't tell you how happy I am that you married someone who makes you happy and respects you and loves you like you deserve to be loved.

I love that now that I have children of my own, I can call you when I'm having a hard day with my kids and say, "I want to run away. Did you ever want to just run away?"  And you say, "Everyday."  And I feel like we are a team.  You get it.  You don't judge me.  You let me be me.  I let you be you and we revel in each other's happiness.  It is fantastic.

Add to that that you are one hot mama.  Yes, I've endured years and years of people saying that we look more like sisters than mother and daughter, but it's okay.  It gives me hope that I will age well ;-)  Not to mention that your sense of humor has only gotten funnier and funnier as it ripens!  You are like a fine wine, my dear.  (Just over look the fact that you know I don't like wine- you get the point!) Edited in 2015 to add:  Now I love wine.  Replace my blood with wine and we are good to go.  I also get this from my mother.

So here, on the 20th anniversary of your 29th birthday, I just want you to know that I love you and respect you and treasure you.  I recognize all of the sacrifices that you've made in your life to help me be who I am and I am grateful.  I'm so lucky that not only do I get to call you mom, but I get to call you  my best friend as well.

Happy Birthday, Mom!  You deserve all the happiness that the world has in store for you!


You and me on my first birthday! Didn't I catch my hair on fire right after this?
You looking like a John Deere tractor and me dressed like a pioneer (as usual). 

Rockin' the huge fashion don't as a duo!  I may have been daddy's girl, but I always did want to be like my mom!

Sometime in the late 90's.

After becoming a mom myself, perspective is everything.  Hello new BFF.

My favorite full circle moment in  life- getting to be the matron of honor at your wedding.

I love you Mom!  Happy birthday!

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