I’ve been meaning to share these thoughts with you for some time, but I’ve been a little bogged down with years of sleep deprivation, cleaning up messes, providing taxi service, and navigating kid crises. You know how that goes. You’ve been through all of this yourself.
The first thing I want to say is thank you for doing all of those things. Thank you for all the mom duties that I always assumed came naturally and didn’t realize required Herculean effort some days.
Thank you for nursing and rocking me when it felt sweet and nurturing as well as when it felt like you were being suffocated by my needs.
Thank you for comforting me when I was sad, playing with me when I was happy, and teaching me when I needed to learn — even on days when all you really wanted to do was lie down and sleep for a few uninterrupted hours.
Thank you for sacrificing your time and energy to raise me. It never dawned on me that you could have made another choice, or that you may have wondered some days what your life would have looked like without me. Not that you would have ever considered that possibility for real, of course. I know how unfathomable your love was and is for me. But I also know how motherhood messes with your identity, and how you literally traded in one life for another when I came along.
Thank you for finding ways to make money that allowed you time with us when we were little. I learned from you that there are ways to make things work with a little creativity and willpower. And thank you for going back to school when we were older. I learned from you that it’s never too late to start a career or to follow a passion.
Thank you for teaching me to say “please” and “thank you.” Thank you for picking up my strewn Cheerios and dropped sippy cups five hundred times. Thank you for sitting me in front of Sesame Street when you needed a break. Thank you for driving me to drill team practices and homecoming dances and sleepovers. Thank you for all of it.
Now that I know what the years of my childhood fully entailed on your end, thank you for your incredible act of motherhood.
But I’m not done there. Because along with thanking you, I now know that I really, really, really owe you some apologies.
I’m so sorry that I got mad at you when you wouldn’t buy me those name-brand shoes I wanted even though they cost three times as much as the ones without the little blue label. I didn’t realize how much financial sacrifice motherhood entailed and how much of a life lesson you were teaching me by not giving me what I wanted.
I’m sorry for every time I whined. Holy gracious, am I sorry for that.
I’m so sorry for all the times my brothers and I bickered. I never realized how freaking annoying that was, and how it hurt your heart to hear your children not getting along.
I’m sorry for every time I relentlessly begged you for things at the grocery store.
I’m sorry for every time I didn’t pick up after myself.
I’m sorry for every time I complained about food you set in front of me.
I’m sorry for every snarky or disrespectful attitude I ever threw your way.
I’m sorry for any time I pushed you away as I got older. I don’t even remember if I did, and I know that it’s a normal part of growing up, but I had no idea how painful the letting-go process is on this side of it.
I’m sorry for not being outwardly grateful and appreciative for everything you did for me. I’m so, so sorry. And so, so thankful. You were a great mom, and any greatness I can claim in my own motherhood is owed to you.
Thank you so much, Mom. And I’m so, so sorry.
Repeat a million times for eternity.
Your Daughter, Who Finally Understands