In honor of Mother’s Day, I decided to write an open letter to my Mom. She was a single mom and now that I have two girls of my own, I have a new found appreciation and respect for the things my mother did for us.
I used to think I knew how much you loved my sister and I. Before I had my first daughter, I think I took your love for granted. You were always there and willing to give us anything, but I never understood what you felt on the other end. I just knew how much I loved you and assumed your love for me was the same.
I realize now that this isn’t completely true. Not until I became a mother myself could I truly understand how deep your love runs for me. I understand that love now, how you would do anything to give us the best life possible, how you would give your life for us.
The reason I understand this is because it’s how I feel about my own two girls now.
I look back and think about when I was three years old, the same age that my oldest daughter is now. I think about where I am today and where you were. You were in the middle of making one of the biggest decisions of your life when you chose to leave our father. You had to take us to your mom’s house until you figured out how you were going to raise us on your own.
I, on the other hand, have a very helpful husband and a lot of family support when I need help with raising our girls. I don’t know how you did it. I don’t know how any single parent does it for that matter. I have a tremendous amount of respect for those mom’s and dad’s that are raising kids on their own, just like you did. I’m not so sure I would be strong enough to do so.
I can’t even begin to express how much I respect you. When I was seven, you made another big decision when you moved us to San Diego county, a couple hours away from your parent’s home. You moved to a new city, got a new job and decided that was where we were going to settle down.
The words “thank you” don’t seem to do justice to how I truly feel about what you did for my sister and I. You worked so incredibly hard to give us a good life and I will always be grateful for that.
I know now how hard being a mother really is. I look back and think of all the pain you must have gone through because of us. I think of how you must’ve felt the first time I ever went through a painful breakup or when my sister struggled to make friends in school. I know now how much our pain must’ve hurt you.
I also understand why you couldn’t fall asleep until we got home once we were older and allowed to be out late. I understand why, to this day, you still want me to let you know when my flight lands if I’m traveling.
I think back to the times I would fight with you. I think about how you were always by my side, even during those times I put you through hell. I fight anxiety, depression and a past with addiction daily and through all of it, you never gave up on me.
No matter what you were going through, you were so strong for us. You are truly one of the strongest people I know. I appreciate everything you’ve done.
I think now about how you must have felt the day I was born. The love and the joy you must have felt when you held me for the first time. It’s something I never could have imagined until having my own daughter.
I just want to say now that I see you and I have a deeper appreciation for everything you have done for us.
I know that you have blamed yourself for the not-so-perfect moments. Moments where you remember getting mad at us, or being so upset and hurt throughout your divorce that maybe you had days when you took out that anger on us. I truly hope you can forgive yourself and let that stuff go. I am learning now more than ever that there is no such thing as a “perfect” mom. We are human. However, you were as close to perfect as it gets.
What I want you to know is that these aren’t the things we remember. My memories of childhood are nothing short of incredible. I remember lots of trips to the beach where we would listen to the Beach Boys on the way there. I remember the trips we would take, the cruises, Las Vegas and Jamaica. I remember knowing that you were always there for us. I remember awesome birthday parties you used to throw for us. I remember jumping on the huge trampoline we had in the backyard without a care in the world.
Most of all, I always felt your love for us. Even when we disappointed you or made you upset, I never once doubted your love for us.
You have raised two incredibly strong and independent women and I hope you are proud of yourself. You are an amazing mom and I am so glad I have you to look up to. You have set the bar high for what a Mom should be and I hope now, I can live up to that for my girls.
I hope you know how much the girls and I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!