“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my Angel Mother.” Abraham Lincoln
My Angel Mother –
Now that I’ve been a mother myself for almost 12 years (can you even believe it?!?), I’ve had a lot of time, (like 4,380 days), to think about a lot of things. I know this letter has taken me way longer than it should have, but the truth of the matter is, before I started this blog, I probably would have never said any of these things –or at least ever put them into writing. That’s the wonderful thing about needing a blog topic and a blog deadline. It forces you to say and do things you may not otherwise get to say or do in a certain time period. It is a game changer in the game of LIFE. No pun intended. I know, it’s cliche. Life is short. Time is precious. We all say it over and over again, but how many of us really act on it? How many of us decide to start living intentionally and with a real purpose? When I really decided I would strive to stop procrastinating- (I’m still struggling severely, but I AM trying!), I sort of figured that another 12 years would just pass by. And then my New Year’s Resolution somehow kicked in and I decided that 2018 was going to be my year to STOP thinking and START doing. I decided to ditch the perfect letter I had written over and over again in my mind, and do my best to write something that would actually exist in real life. [I really didn’t ever think I would ever have the courage to publish it online though.]
I remember you telling me that you knew you wanted to be a teacher from the time you were in first grade! How does one even determine a profession from the age of 6 and then actually live out that dream anyways? Of your four kids, I’m the unconventional one… the one who could never figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’m a middle child and God knows that alone comes with its own challenges. But the BEST news EVER is I finally got there Mom! After 37 years, I finally figured it out! Deep down, I knew I had it in me all along. And when you know… you just know, right?!? And, the best thing is…now that I know, I am FINALLY able to put this letter in writing and let the whole world know how wonderful you are!
So, Mother, let me take this opportunity to ask you the questions I have been pondering for years about life and motherhood…
How did you always make “it” seem so easy?
I mean, like seriously?!? I’m begging you to answer this one. I’m over here with the time passing, and I’m completely losing my MARBLES most days. Worst part, I feel like I’m never gonna find them!!! Some days, I look down and realize I didn’t even put my own pants on the right way! And the pants to that baseball uniform that needed washed… Ummm… they are being dug out of the dirty clothes five minutes before the game more times than I care to admit. (Thank you Febreeze! No worries… just a regular daily Epic Mom Fail!). I’m just thinking back to my childhood and all I can remember is how easy you made everything seem! Packing lunches (yeah- I admit I do force my kids to eat school lunch most days now!), washing all those uniforms (I never wore a “dirty” one! ha), all that homework you helped us with (thank God my husband is a math expert!). We didn’t eat concession stand food for dinner. We made it everywhere on time. I repeat ON TIME. We were never late for games, birthday parties, practices, church, or school. And me… the only thing I’ll be on time for is why own funeral. I mean, just thinking back on my childhood, I feel like it was easy for you. These days of raising kids are so hard for ME, yet somehow…somehow YOU made it seem so EASY!
How did you find that perfect balance?
We hardly ate fast food, we visited our grandparents weekly, we were involved–but NOT overinvolved in extracurricular activities. You were demanding, yet you gave us space to grow and make our own decisions. You were not a helicopter parent. You provided guidance but let us learn from our mistakes. And I ask you, how did you find that balance in life?
How did you do “it” all?
You were a stay at home mom, you were a working full-time mom, you were a PTA mom. You have made a veggie tray to take to nearly every party you’ve ever gone too. You had the birthday parties, you cut the grass, you read the books to us, you tucked us in EVERY single night. And I’m a stay at home mother with no outside job struggling to even do my job. Tell me, how did you do it all? And you did it without COFFEE– I repeat, without COFFEE. You are superhuman!
When certain things were so hard, how did you do them anyways?
Where did you get that strength from? The motivation? The will to keep going… Like any family, ours also had a fair share of very hard times, but you always gave it 100 percent and kept going. How did you dig so deep? You got up, showed up, and never gave up. You did the hard things, and what I admire most is you did it with grace and you rarely complained. And mom, I’d just really love to know how!
How did you always view your cup as half full?
Over the past years, I admit, there were many times that I’ve struggled to see the cup as half full. Sadly, I’ve seen it near empty at times. Some days even life got the best of me, and I struggled more than you probably will ever know. But looking back, I see your optimism for living. The cup not just half full, but overflowing–and I ask you now, how can I see my own cup that way?
Why did you buy the shoes for me instead of for yourself?
If there’s one thing we have in common, it’s our love for shopping and all things fashion. I think back to growing up and remembering that time I really wanted that pair of purple shoes that several other girls in the third grade had. And I remember, you bought me the shoes. I mean, I’m sure you would have loved a new pair of shoes for yourself, but you bought me shoes… and school clothes, and the Christmas dresses, and the Prom Dresses, and well… everything I really ever wanted. You did it for me even when you had to go without. And for that I am forever grateful. The shoes were just a small sacrifice of all the things you gave up to give us what we not only needed, but what we wanted as well.
How do you become a morning person and a night person?
I’m a night owl. I come alive when most people are going to bed. I remember you telling me when you met dad, you changed into being a person that was able to stay up really late. But what you never answered, was when that changed, how did you find the strength to also be proactive at 5AM? [And without coffee… how are you NOT a coffee drinker?] This morning person/night person thing is a superpower you have. And I need to know the answer immediately!
How did hope always spring eternal?
When I was going through Hyperemesis Gravidarum three times, I almost lost hope. There were days I wanted to die. I was so sick (and I really hate to admit this…because I know once it’s written on a blog, it’s out there for everyone to see) but I dreamed that while surviving this horrific illness, that someone would just cover my body with dirt and I would die. I don’t say this to be grim, and it’s not an uncommon thought with this illness, but the one thing that kept me going each day during those hard pregnancies, was the hope that I would get better and be able to live a normal life. With each passing day during that hard time, I remembered when we were little, you would always say that “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” And when I had to face my own severe struggles as an adult, I truly believed that, and it kept me alive.
How do I learn to live by the serenity prayer?
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. When I think of this prayer each time I say it, I think of you and how you have mastered it. Because God only knows, it feels like I’ll never to able to accept the things I cannot change!
How do I grow my own faith to move mountains?
What I might admire most about you, Mom, is that you have the faith that they say will move mountains. How does one have faith as small as mustard seed, yet large enough to move mountains? If there is another question I need answered from this post, it is this. How can I take my own faith to the next level?
How do I stay humble? How does one become so generous? How do I forgive and forget? How do I turn the other cheek? How does one change the thought process of thinking about themselves to thinking about helping others? How do I look stylish when I’m your age? How do you age gracefully? How do you learn to love ‘what God gave you’? How do I find such empathy for others as you have? How does one practice kindness at all costs? How do I find TRUE joy, fulfillment, happiness, and contentment in life as you have?
Ahhhh Mom! On this Mother’s Day of 2018, I finally realized something I’ve been trying to figure out for years. And it is this this… You HOLD THE ANSWERS to these deep life questions! I can’t let another day go past without knowing the answers to the questions I posed. Some daughters worry about turning into their mothers. Me– I actually think about how I can be more like you and I strive for it each and every day. As a mother, as a person, and as a best friend, there is no one else I’d rather be like. On this Mother’s Day, I do truly realize how much you do to help my family and I on a consistent basis…and I am so thankful for that! I realize without YOU in my life, my already struggling self would be struggling to a whole new level. But surprisingly, it’s NOT the help you give to me that is what I appreciate the most about having you as my mother. After all these years, I have realized the person you actually ARE is the greatest gift YOU HAVE GIVEN ME. And for that I have been SO BLESSED and I am FOREVER GRATEFUL!