Hey mom, you should know…I get it now.
No, I mean, I GET IT NOW. I know. And you probably already know I know (you’re a mom afterall) but I’m still going to say it.
You are not perfect. You never were (contrary to what the dozens of cards featuring obscene amounts of glitter that I gave to you over the years said). You have flaws. Lots of them.
I know, I know. Gee, Happy Mother’s Day to you. But I can say that now because I’m finally a mother myself. So, yes, you are far from perfect.
And that’s what makes all the things you did all the more extraordinary.
See, it would be super easy to be a mom if you were a saint. If you had endless reserves of patience. But you weren’t and you didn’t. You were just a person. A human with regular reserves of patience. And yet, you were able to calmly tell me for the 16th time that, no, we weren’t there yet, honey, despite the fact that your brain was silently screaming at me to SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!
I know this because I have calmly told my son no less than 19 times today to leave the computer cable alone, please. And all the while my brain was silently screaming STOPITSTOPITSTOPITSTOPIT!
I now know how much you wanted that last piece of pie. That you had, in fact, been thinking about that damn piece of pie all day. That the thought of eating that pie was the only thing that got you through that incredibly crappy day you were having. And yet, you kindly and nonchalantly gave it to me and watched me shove it into my unappreciative mouth hole simply because I asked for it before you had a chance to grab it and eat it in the safety of the bathroom.
I know because I truly, deeply wanted that last cupcake and yet handed it over to my grunting, frantic toddler with a smile.
I know that you dreaded waking up at the butt crack of dawn just to take me to my stupid volleyball practice. DREADED it. All you wanted was more sleep, or just 15 minutes to enjoy your coffee and the newspaper, or any other activity that didn’t require wearing pants. And yet, every morning, there you sat in the cold, dark car, acting like there was no other place you’d rather be.
I know this because I dragged myself out of bed this morning at 6 a.m. even though I would have traded some pretty vital organs for five more minutes of sleep. And yet I opened that nursery door with a big grin and cheerfully sang the “Good Morning” song to my bright-eyed, bushy-tailed child.
I know that even though you were always 100 percent supportive of all my dreams, even the stupid ones (“I want to be a supermodel and then work as a vet on the weekends!”), you secretly agonized over my future.
I know that when I was being bullied and you told me that violence was never the answer, it took every ounce of strength you had not to punch that tiny brat in the face.
I know that your heart stopped every time I climbed to the top of that tree and that it melted every time I gave you a hug and that it broke every time mine did.
I know that those vaccine shots, that punishment, that alcohol poured over that skinned knee did, in fact, hurt you worse than it hurt me.
I know that every single day you felt that terrible push-pull feeling of wanting to protect me from everything and wanting me to experience everything life had to offer.
I know that you lied when you said everything would be OK. Because you didn’t actually know if everything would be OK. But you would be damned if you were going to let me worry about it.
And I know that the one thing you never lied about was how beautiful I am. And how smart. And how funny. And oh, so brave. I never believed you but you were telling the truth.
Because I am. To you.
I know because I too gave birth to the most beautiful, smartest, funniest, bravest child that ever lived.
Oh, and mom, that goes both ways. I never noticed the muffin tops and cellulite. The crow’s feet and laugh lines. The slightly crooked teeth. All the things I saw you agonize over. I just saw the most beautiful woman in the world who was always willing to let me crawl into her bed every time I had a nightmare. And would probably even let me crawl in today.
I get it now, mom. I get it.