For My Mom, On Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

You and I have certainly had our problems over the years, haven’t we. I remember bumping heads with you countless times over the years. I can remember being so angry at you sometimes I was literally shaking, and crying, as I always do when I am really mad. The funny thing is, some of our biggest fights my friends from childhood now remember with fondness and affection, a treasured memory of funny times. Actually of all the childhood friends I still speak to, every single one remembers you with love and affection. They always told me growing up how lucky I was to have a mom like you, fights and all. As an adult, I absolutely agree.

You taught me so many things growing up. Some things I may not have been ready to learn, and deeply resented having to endure the lessons. I am so grateful for them now, and I see so clearly that I am the person I am today largely due to your guidance.

When I was diagnosed with a minor learning disability, you made it your mission to learn everything you could about it, and even volunteered in my school to learn more. From there you eventually got hired at my school, and made a career helping kids with a variety of learning disabilities. I am so proud that my mom would dedicate her life to something that started as concern for me.  Many years later, when I was told that the baby I was carrying had a congenital heart defect while I was still pregnant with him, I knew I had to learn everything I could about his defect. I knew how to do that, because I watched you.

Fortunately, I eventually outgrew my learning issues. Unfortunately, Daniel didnt outgrow his heart defect. When he died, I was devastated, a shell of the person I had been. I knew how to handle devastation though. When I came home at the age of nineteen and found out my father, your husband, had moved out in literally a couple hours, seemingly out of the blue, I watched you. The very next week, when you found out your stubborn, headstrong, rebellous nineteen year old daughter was pregnant by a boy you knew was in no way capable of being a responsible man, I watched you. You must have felt like your world had stopped turning, but you never showed it, and the love and support you gave to Jessica and to me was nothing  short of miraculous. Much later in life that lesson became invaluable to me, when Megan became a mom at fifteen. Because I learned from you to take care of the kids no matter what, I have a bond with Jayden that is remarkable, and will no doubt last a lifetime, just like your bond with Jessica still does.

Now, three weeks away from finally moving out of Bob’s house and moving on with my life, I think back to you often when trying to handle my divorce. My marrige ended far differently from yours, and should have been over a long time ago, but because of you I know how to handle myself with dignity and grace. I am thankful for that more and more as my divorce get progressively ugly.

Most of all mom, I learned how to be a mother to my children. I know that no matter how much I want to be their best friend, that can never be my role. I know that no matter how much I hate it, and how much it hurts, there comes a time that I have to let my kids go out on their own to make their own mistakes. I know they have to find their own path in life, no matter how much I disagree with their choices, and all I can do is give advice when asked, and listen when things go wrong. In the case of Megan, and myself, I learned how to pick my battles with a rebellous child, and stand my ground when it counts, even if it kills me.

In between these big lessons, there were thousands of small ones. You taught me to say please and thank you, to respect my elders, and that I can never, ever wear white after Labor Day. I learned how to handle myself in public with class, which fork to eat which course with, and how to decorate a Christmas tree perfectly.

I have learned so much from you mom, and I am so grateful. I’m an adult now. Do you think it’s possible that you could learn some things from me?

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you.

Jenn

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