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 all the things she did for us.
I used to think I knew how much you loved my sister and I. Before I had my first daughter, 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. I understand because it’s how I feel about my own daughter’s.
I also think 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.
When I was three years old, the same age that my oldest daughter is now, you were in the middle of making one of the biggest decisions of your life when you chose to leave our father. We had to move in with Grandma until you figured out how you were going to raise us on your own. I can’t even imagine how difficult that was but you did it.
I, on the other hand, have an amazing husband and a lot of family support when I need help with our girls. I don’t know how you did it alone. I don’t know how any single parent does it, for that matter. I have so much respect for the mom’s and dad’s that are raising kids on their own, just like you did.
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 like enough. Words can’t really express how I truly feel about what you did for me and my sister. 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 have felt the first time I went through a painful breakup or when my sister struggled to make friends in school. Our pain must have hurt you so much, more than we could understand at the time.
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 the times I put you through hell. I have fought addiction, depression and anxiety 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 and I appreciate everything you’ve done.
I see you, Mom, and I have a deeper appreciation for everything you’ve done for us.
I know you blame yourself for the not-so-perfect moments. The moments where you remember yelling at us, or for the anger you may have taken out on us because of the divorce and everything you were going through. I truly hope you can forgive yourself and let that go. I’m learning now more than ever that there’s no such thing as a “perfect” mom. We’re 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 or oldies on the way there. I remember the trips we would take, the cruises, Las Vegas and Jamaica. 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. I remember knowing that you were always there for us.
Most of all, I always felt your love. Even when we disappointed you or made you upset, I never once doubted your love for us.
You’ve raised two incredibly strong and independent women and I hope you’re proud of yourself. You are an amazing mom and I am so glad I have you to look up to.
We love you so much.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!