That Time When… An Open Letter to My Mom
That time when… 1.5 million women in America were getting abortions and you decided to keep the child within. To have the painstaking, heart throbbing conversation with your mother and let her know that the future plans you had dreamed up were taking a backseat to the new and difficult path you had been presented with. I want to say thank you. It’s not enough. They are simple words, I know. But as I look back at all the fun, adventures, laughs and tears I have had, it means life has been lived. It means love conquered. Not fear. Not embarrassment. Not inconvenience. Not shame. But love.
That time when… you knew I would need a father and you married the man I am from. I was with you when you walked down the aisle and felt your love for him. It’s light beaming bright. It was a cold, blistery day but I only remember the rays of love that could be felt from your heart. The love you had for him that day is the same constant love you hold onto today 32 years later. You knew.
That time when…sleepless nights and penny pinching days ruled the home and yet there was never any resentment felt. Instead, there were countless readings of Goodnight Moon, endless baby wearing the old-fashioned way – the hip, homemade pureed meals, and hand sewn outfits. You knew.
That time when…when the brood stretched to 3 more children. I’m not sure how you handled it. But I sense you flopped into bed at night and pulled up your bootstraps every morning. You stretched meals, cut coupons, and were eco-friendly before it was a fashion statement. I scoffed as you washed your Ziplock bags for re-use and stated I would never fall to that level. I apologize for any shame I made you feel in that moment. I should have known better. Of course, you knew.
That time when…we regularly saw extended family. Knowing that it would create soul ties, precious memories and countless stories to tell. That they would teach lessons you could not. That shared values would create lasting friendships in cousins. That aunts could be relied on for spoiling children, uncles for teaching shenanigans, grandfathers for sharing wisdom and grandmothers for showing love when maybe your vessel was getting low. You knew.
That time when…your gourmet abilities were tired of making macaroni and cheese for four kids. You whipped up a french onion soup with Gruyere cheese and served it in beautiful bowls. We stared, sniffed, and pronounced profusely that we were not going to eat it. I’m pretty sure we spilled a tear or two. Stepping away from your steaming bowl, you made pasta for the grateful children. You instilled a love for food, and all its beauty and health it offered. Knowing that one day something as beloved as french onion soup would grace my own table. You knew.
That time when…I got my ears pierced, got to shave my legs for the first time and learned how to apply makeup. I wanted to be hip and cool like my other friends, share in their stories and have what they had. Most times, my urges were met with your, “I understand but no.” Until those days when it it happened for me. When I got my ears pierced, I actually beat Stefanie from Full House and skipped down the street to show all my friends. You surprised me with a treasure hunt for my first pink razor. Or when you ushered me into the Garden Botanika store for a kit that enhanced the beauty but did not mask it. You knew.
That time when…when girl friends played their stupid games, made they’re stupid comments and chose others over me. I came home in tears and no matter what age I was, your arms were there for me. They brought comfort and shelter. A security that only had a few more years to provide. Your soothing words reached in and touched the aching heart. You knew.
That time when…when I brought the first boy home. You didn’t shake your head or give that look. You fed him, welcomed him into the family and offered your graciousness. I was lost, searching and having fun along the way. A hormone infused relationship that was for a fleeting moment. You knew.
That time when…you saw me walk down the aisle. The wedding gown of a princess, the church packed with joyous participants and its willing bride and groom offering their undying love. Rather than offer your moments of sadness, hardship, conflict and questioning that the lessons life had taught you as a wife; you cried tears of joy, smiled ear to ear and wore the pride of a mother lion. But you knew.
That time when…when I made you a grandmother. The constant calls, airplane flights, pestering you with questions…you handled it with ease. You would come in and sweep her little body into your knowing arms and she would instantly find peace. My home became your home as you cooked in my kitchen filling my freezer with meals, did my dirty laundry and washed my filthy tub as I couldn’t get on my hands and knees in the third trimester. You shared in the very tasks your mother did for you. You knew.
You knew, Mom. You knew all along.