dear mom (ck)

by ck on August 31, 2012

Dear Mom,

I thought writing this would be easy. So easy that I planned to bang it out in a morning and then bask in your love. After all, there hasn’t been one day in the past seven-and-a-half years where I haven’t found something new about who you are, or what you sacrificed during my tenure as your child, to be grateful for (though you probably wouldn’t know by the frequency of my calls). And yet this is the third morning I’ve sat at my computer, struggling to think of how to thank you.

At first I thought I’d be sarcastic, thanking you for locking me out of the house in the summer afternoons, forcing me to “play” in the great wilderness of Jersey suburbia, trying to change me into some athletic kid. It took having a child to recognize that you weren’t trying to change me, you were trying to get away from me. I never understood why you couldn’t hear me from the kitchen window, whining to be let back in like some feral cat, as the egg timer tick down one hour. I totally get it now. You could hear me, but your ears blocked out the frequency of my whines, which is probably why your ears ring now. Even though I haven’t lived at home for almost 12 years, they were so scared by my promises to behave that they don’t trust that I’m not still in the front yard, under the windowsill, waiting for them to let down their guard.

I also understand why you were happy to listen to kids’ music as long as we were, and why you didn’t want me watching Madonna videos. Now that I actually understand what (most of) her lyrics/intentions were, I would’ve fainted if my 8YO came home from her BFF’s house, singing “Papa Don’t Preach.” Though BTW, I always thought she was singing about wanting to keep a boyfriend her dad didn’t like. Because obviously girls with really short hair picked bad boyfriends.

Which was why, since my hair was at least shoulder-length and yours was short, I figured my first boyfriend was fine; you were the one who wasn’t. I’m happy to report that I’m now as appalled with myself–if not more than you were–at my choice of him in every single regard. If one of my girls brought him home, I’d have daily anxiety attacks, in addition to the nightmares I’m sure you must have endured. Least of all to say, I understand why you were furious about me pretty much assisting him in stealing the brand new bike I’d begged months for.  (Though I’m really not sure why I didn’t understand that 2o years ago as I gave him the key to the horseshoe lock that was installed to keep him from stealing it.) Thank you for still talking to me after that. It couldn’t have been easy.

And thank you for always letting me in your room to “chat” moments after you closed your door to do homework. Even though you must’ve been horrified by what came out of my mouth most of the time, you let me keep talking. You had a great poker face. I’m working on mine.

Thank you for letting me stall before bed. Because you did, I now know that some of the sweetest, most revealing things about my kids will surface when they’re trying to put off sleep. I would’ve missed that had I not cherished so many memories of your nails tracing intricate designs on my back as I drifted off.

Thank you for not laughing in my face when I pretty gave birth to myself (and thank you for not withholding advice and making me beg for it. I totally would’ve.)

Thank you for nodding compassionately when my ears started ringing two Julys ago and never stopped. You could’ve smiled, or choked on a laugh, and I would’ve understood. But you didn’t.

Thank you for continusously inviting me home to visit when that usually means I’ll drop my kids and run for a day or two, fleeing the house with the kind of vigor that would’ve made you proud had I done it as a child.

Thank you for never giving up on me. I didn’t have to have kids to know that you believed in me. I’ve always known it was true. But now that I have kids I understand the power I held over your heart, how many times I must’ve broken it, and how hard it must have sometimes been to keep believing. Which makes your faith and love that much more valuable. Because to love a kid like me before I grew out of (most of my) mortifying, spiteful, and somewhat dangerous behavior? That takes a woman ten times what I can even fathom at this point in my life.

Though since I’m slowing turning into you in most other regards, I’ll probably get some of that too. And I’m lucky. There’s no one else I’d want to be just like.

I love you,

•                    •                    •

Have anything you’d like to thank your mom for? Anything you’d like tell her, or you wish you’d had the chance to say? I would love to post it here. Hit me up  at ck (at) badmommymoments (dot) com






Corinn August 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

Wow. I’m not your mom, nor know your mom and that was so wonderfully written. You had a pretty awesome mom (though I’m sure you thought she was horrid back in the day) Man, I’m fighting tears over here!

Hope one day your daughters can write this well and you receive this letter from them.

Yvonne Moss August 31, 2012 at 7:45 am

Well, I know your mom. And knew her when she would ask me to pray for you, always without disclosing any of your teenage ways. And to pray for her. She is a wonderful woman.
The line you wrote “But now that I have kids I understand the power I held over your heart, how many times I must’ve broken it, and how hard it must have sometimes been to keep believing.” made me bust up in streaming tears. You have such a way with words. Thank you for helping me identify parts of motherhood that cannot be so easily explained.

Charity Deleon August 31, 2012 at 7:58 am

What a great post! I was reaised without a mother so it’s extra important for me to be there for my children. I hope one day when they are older they can appreciate me as you do your mother. Thanks for sharing!

WithoutWords August 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

This is awesome. I grew up not caring for my mother very much. I lost my father at such a young age, and my mother was one of those women who felt she had to have a man regardless if she was the one providing for him or not. With that said, throughout my teen years until recently she put her man first before me and my brother, building up all the pain inside until I didn’t care if I spoke to her or not. The day after Christmas this past year at 24 years old, I find myself planning a funeral for a woman I didn’t know anymore. Six months later, I realize I am without parents. If I could write a letter to Heaven I would. Putting aside all the hurt I experienced, I do remember the good times. And I wish I had the approval and proudness and so that they could see what a wonderful Mom I am and a wonderful life I provide for my two girls despite the way I was raised.

I love when I read things like this, I only wish that I can have a wonderful relationship with my girls.

TheKitchenWitch August 31, 2012 at 9:23 am

That’s a really lovely tribute to your mom. I have trouble believing you were that annoying, though…you? A little delinquent? You look so sweet!

Gigi August 31, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Tears. My mother and I had a rocky relationship until the day she died. I loved her but at times couldn’t stand her. But now, from the perspective of an adult and with the knowledge I now have of some of her past, I can *almost* understand some of the things she did. But despite everything, I know she loved me with all she had and to the best of her ability.

Emily @ Motherfog August 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm

This is beautiful. And sums up perfectly the way we understand memories of our parents’ expressions once we have our own children. It all starts to make sense. The Mother/Daughter relationship is an intricate one, isn’t it?

Dawn @What's Around the Next Bend? September 1, 2012 at 12:29 am

*LOVE * how you can express things that only a mother’s heart can feel.
Thinking of writing a mom letter… I’ll let you know in the next couple of days. :)

Mom September 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

My Dearest Daughter, Cindy,
As is usually the case, I didn’t check my emails yesterday or read your blog until now. I was deeply touched by your words; tears streaming down my face as I read them. I can’t think of a greater gift than having a loving relationship with my adult children. I could never have imagined back in those troubling years that you would develop into the wonderful woman you are today. If I had only known then what I know now……..
Back then I would look around at families who had daughters your age and none of them seemed to be doing the kind of things you were doing. I felt overwhelmed, inadequate, and scared of what might happen to you when you were out of my sight. I was grateful for my sisters and church sisters who prayed with me and were a source of encouragement. I can’t take the credit for doing such a great job. God gets the credit for faithfully being with us every moment. HE would wake me up in the middle of the night at just the right moment for you. HE would put just the right words in my mouth when something important needed to be said. I had a stack of index cards with scriptures written on them that dealt with trusting God. I would read them repeatedly; particularly when I didn’t think I could make it through another day. God would remind me to “love her, be patient with her, and HE would do the rest!” And HE has! I am so proud of you! And so thankful for what HE continues to do!
My love always,

Eli@coachdaddy September 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

Can you imagine if, when we turned 30, we had to write our parents a check to make up for our weirdness and difficulty as kids? Whew.

Beautifully written.

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