I’ll always love my mama, she’s my favorite girl…
For real, though, you are. As I prepare to take time and celebrate the mothers in my midst, I find myself incredibly blessed with the one I have. I have always felt that as quirky and peculiar as I am, God couldn’t have chosen more perfect parents for me. Children come with no instruction manual, and I am sure I was no exception. Having had me at the tender age of 23, I not only had the privilege of being your first baby, I got a front row to see you grow through so many stages in your life. I got to watch you navigate through your newlywed years. I watched you juggle being a full-time working mother, and transition to being a stay-at-home mom. You faced financial and life challenges with grace and tenacity. When my siblings and I were young kids, you worked a full-time IT job in the insurance industry. I remember you getting us up, making sure we had breakfast, and make sure we had a home-cooked meal most nights. On top of that, you spent countless hours helping us with homework and activities (that we often waited until the last minute to do.) Most importantly, you spent quality time with us EVERY day. (Sidenote: Momma, you told the best bedtime stories! I’m sure I asked for those stories way longer than you thought I would, lol.) Thank you, Momma, for giving me the physical prime of your life.
Anyway, now that I am an adult with so many questions about how I’ll one day juggle marriage, motherhood, and mastering my purpose, I recognize just how hard that was. Moreover, I recognize the sacrifices I didn’t see. I didn’t see you forgo finishing graduate school to prioritize Daddy and me. I didn’t notice the things you didn’t buy, the places you didn’t go, and the people you didn’t see. You recently explained to me that you can do it all – just not all at once. And I understand now, more than ever, what that means. Your favorite word is BALANCE, and you have modeled it for me so well. Sure, you showed me that it was human to feel pain, but never did I feel your burdens thrust upon me. Thank you, Momma, for always making me feel like raising me was a JOY, not a JOB.
For everything you did to nurture me, you surely did not coddle me, either. You taught me early on that life isn’t fair. You demonstrated before me an uncanny ability to navigate challenges. You are literally the calm in our family storms. From you, I learned to slow down and compartmentalize the things going on in my life. You also are incredibly resourceful. For everything we didn’t have, you had the ingenuity to make up for it. For example, we may not have had material resources for educational enrichment, but you made sure we visited all the museums, you found all the free summer camps, and worked tirelessly to help us find full scholarships to college. And you did all this while making $5 turn into $20-tasting meals, amongst other things. Thank you for not allowing our circumstances to define our destiny.
It is said that a father is girl’s first love, and a mom is a girl’s first best friend. I have found that to be so true. I feel like you have always been my friend, just not “one of my lil friends.” LOL!!! There was always a clear boundary in terms of who was in charge, but we’ve always been very close. You showed genuine interest in what was going on my life when I felt no one else did. Being the kind of socially-challenged child I was, you stood in the gap for me in so many ways. You may not have realized it, but your interest in me as a child taught me that my presence was wanted and valuable and that I was worth listening to. You and Dad weren’t really the “dropping off” type parents, so I went everywhere with you. And you made me want to go everywhere with you (except the grocery store.) We spent so much time talking and laughing and enjoying each other that we naturally developed a closeness that has translated into a true friendship in my adult life. We talked every day then, and we talk almost every day now. You may not know everything about me, but I can say with certainty that you know me. Perhaps better than anyone. Thank you for being my friend.
So much of what I am, I owe you. You modeled an unmatched level of ingenuity that has gotten me through many difficult junctures. You taught me how to BE a lady, and not just look like one. Even in your directness, you’ve always conducted yourself with dignity and respect. You taught me to LITERALLY dance like no one is watching. You showed me how to PRAY without ceasing. Even seeing your imperfections helped grow a gift of compassion inside me. But I don’t have enough paper to tell you all the things you’ve done for me.
Momma, I can only hope to be half the wife and mother that you are, and I’m so incredibly grateful. In my life, you have been a cheerleader, an ally, an advocate, a confidante…and I look forward to seeing what else you will manage to be for me in the years to come. For all that you have sacrificed, I hope that loving me the way you have, since the moment I was formed in your womb, has added something special to your life. In my lifetime, I’ve certainly watched you grow stronger, smarter, more confident, and infinitely more beautiful.
You are my heroine in plain clothes.
I love you,