I dedicate this post today to my own mother, Judy, whom I lovingly refer to as “Ma” (complete with a New York Jewish accent, despite my being neither a New Yorker nor Jewish). Here’s a letter from me to you, Ma. Wish I could seal it with a big hug in real life.
On this Mother’s Day, I have some thoughts to share with you. As I journey down my own road of motherhood, I am continually discovering how much you sacrificed for me growing up, and how much I owe you for both the things you did and the things you didn’t do. So I’d like to thank you.
But first, I have a few apologies to get out of the way:
I’m sorry for every time I whined at you. About anything. For any reason. I now understand the psychological torture incessant whining inflicts on a parent.
I’m sorry for every time I complained about the food you gave me to eat. I now understand how much time you spent thinking about meals, snacks, and nutrition, and how fortunate I was to never go without.
I’m sorry for crying about brushing my hair but not letting you cut it. I now know that lack of logic probably drove you crazy.
I’m sorry for arguing with my brothers over stupid little things. I now know that it hurts your heart as a mom when your kids aren’t getting along.
I’m sorry for being mad that you wouldn’t buy me the name-brand Keds that I wanted in junior high because everyone else had them. I now get that you would have been throwing good money away solely to conform with some temporary, arbitrary standard of fashion.
I’m sorry for not calling as often as I should. If my kids don’t call me frequently after twenty years of dedicated child-rearing, I will be seriously pissed.
And now for some well-deserved thanks:
Thank you for teaching me the basics of piano when you didn’t have the money to get me private lessons. I now understand how much of a role finances play in the opportunities we can give our kids, and how you did your best with what you had.
Thank you for not buying us the sugary cereal we begged you for. Your foundation of good nutrition has stuck with me, and carried on to your grandkids.
Thank you for buying sugary cereal for us every once in a while as a treat. I don’t struggle with issues of dietary deprivation, and I credit our twice-a-year Fruit Loops splurge for that. 🙂
Thank you for letting me wear my hair however I wanted to, for getting me perms when I desperately wanted curly hair, and for telling me you liked it no matter how I styled it. I may have wanted something different as a child, but I actually like my straight brown hair now – probably because you didn’t criticize.
Thank you for not getting me those brand-name Keds in junior high. It taught me that the world wouldn’t fall apart without the latest fashion, which has saved me untold amounts of money and energy over the years.
Thank you for letting me be shy when I was young, and for not forcing me to be or do something I wasn’t ready for. I credit a good deal of my confidence to your letting me come out of my shell in my own sweet time.
Thank you for starting a whole new career at the age I am now. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, and you taught me that it’s never too late to learn new things and develop your skills and talents.
Thank you for breastfeeding me, and for helping me successfully nurse my own babies. What a precious gift.
Thank you for staying with me after each of my babies were born, doing laundry, cooking meals, picking up, and talking me through the hormonal ups and downs of those first few postpartum weeks. Words can’t describe how important that support was for me.
Thank you for not complaining that I don’t call more frequently. Perhaps you understand my loathing of the phone, or the difficulties of talking on the phone with three young children in the background. Either way, I appreciate that you’re not the guilt-throwing type.
I know there are about 157 more things I could thank you for, so I’ll just give one big all-inclusive THANK YOU FOR BEING A GREAT MOM. I really do appreciate this life you helped start and the nurturing that has made me who I am.
I love you, Ma. Happy Mother’s Day!