Last night I was at a nearby park with my three children, when my parents stopped by to drop off a forgotten item and spend some time with the grandkids. As my dad watched me tending to one of my savages, he looked at my mom with a chuckle and jokingly said, “It’s just amazing, who would have ever thought Kristen would be a role model someday?” My mom’s face immediately fell as she looked at my dad, then instantly made eye contact with me and replied, “I always knew.”
Two important things to take into account while reading this story:
Number 1. My dad’s words were never meant as an insult or to purposefully hurt me (which they did not). He was merely back-handedly complimenting me by throwing a little shade — which is our typical form of communication as we are constant ball-busters with one another.
And Number 2. He was kinda right. I was a selfish asshole all through my teens and into my early twenties. I can guarantee if you asked anyone I went to school with they would not have pictured me as a stay-at-home-mom to 3 children by the time I was 28 (clearly depicted by me being voted “Class Partier” in our senior year).
But my mom — well, my mom always knew the fabric that my soul was truly woven with. She believed in me steadfast and tenfold. And even all these years after finally starting to come into my own, she needed to make sure that I knew what she had known all along. She never wanted me to question or doubt, to wonder or second guess.
In early adolescence, my mom was always very intuitive of my feelings and needs. Growing up in the ’90s, I was the student in elementary school who had a permanent cot in the nurse’s office; always complaining of a stomach or headache — this was before the times of children being diagnosed and treated for anxiety. And without fail every single time my mom received that phone call from Mrs. Beverly (our school nurse — turned family friend) she would rush to the school to bring me home — no questions asked.
She took the time to settle my nerves with a cozy blanket, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale with the bubbles stirred out — and my favorite Disney movie no matter what she had previously had going on. And still, to this day the memories of curling up on the couch listening to “The Circle of Life” with her soft feet pattering in the background have always been when I felt the most at home. Through elementary and into junior and high school, her support for me never faltered, even while my attitude worsened and my decision making skills plummeted to all time lows.
She stuck by me through every move I made. She patiently taught me how to drive a stick shift, held countless cold compresses to my head during my endless migraine episodes, held me tight after the death of my childhood friend, and wiped my tears as I stumbled through the uncertainty of teenage pregnancy.
And now more than ever, as I navigate motherhood and finding my true self at this stage of life, her wisdom and knowledge are the small tokens I frequently seek after. Her advice resonates deep and is never taken for granted. Even when we disagree, I take her opinion more seriously than any other and mull it over, finding different sides to topics that I had previously never seen before, and more often than not I end up in agreement with what she has said, because I know that she is always looking out for my best interests above all else.
There’s something different about the love that comes from a mother, which doesn’t take away from a father’s love — they are just completely different entities. A mother’s love is a million little pieces of hope and memories, of desires and prayers, of wishes and dreams for her child. Whether that child be 3 or 30, those little pieces never go away. They just build upon each other — they form, they grow, and they tighten an already unbreakable bond until sometimes, all the mother can see in her child is herself.
My mom taught me my whole entire life how to be the mother I am today. By watching her selflessness and receiving all of her love every single day of my life, she molded me into the mother I have become, and yesterday at 30 years old she taught me another important lesson. She taught me to always make sure your children know that you believe in them –and that you always have. When they are failing school, sneaking out to parties, experimenting with drugs, or getting pregnant at 19, never stop believing in their potential — so someday that child can proudly say, “My mom always knew.”