Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother's Day. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out the perfect gift, when it hit me. The best thing I could give you this year is a giant THANK YOU. The best gift is the one of gratitude and appreciation. Because I don't think I thank you enough. I don't think those of us in your life thank you enough.

Mom, in the last eighteen months I've leaned on you more than I have in my entire life. I've needed you in a different way. I've needed you to tend and care for my daughters. Those perfectly spoiled, funny, loving girls. You do realize they adore you, right? Just like I do. But they aren't the easiest people to get along with, much like their mother, and I so appreciate you for caring for them and loving them in a way that sometimes I cannot. Thank you for always being so patient with them, for helping fix mistakes I've made as a mommy, for loving them with everything you have. Did you ever imagine that you would have the capacity to love this much? In the same way you loved me, but with more of the best parts of you. It's amazing to see.

I really don't know how you did it. Raising a child like me. With all my neurosis, ticks, worries, and dramatics. How did you get yourself to work everyday all those years I was so sick? The years I refused to eat anything in fear of being in pain. How were you able to get me to school and yourself to work, on time, every day? I can't even function when my kids are sick or in pain. I spent years in pain, not knowing what my diet should be, blowing out candles on cakes I could never eat; and there you were, strong and supportive. How did you do that? How did you keep it all together? I guess it's just a small example of the kind of woman and mother you are.

You rarely take credit for being an incredible mother. You always say that you had help, or that you only had one child to worry about, but let's be honest. As the oldest child in your family, I was rarely your only worry. Thank you for setting such an amazing example of a working mother. It wasn't perfect by any means, but I'm still so inspired on how you did it. Sure we ate our dinners in the car a lot, we ran errands together, you took me to see movies that probably weren't the most appropriate for a kid, but thank you anyway. Thank you for letting me tag along.

In recent years I've read an article or two about Mothers and Daughters. Articles that say that Mothers and Daughters shouldn't be best friends. That as a mother you are there to be the authority figure, the one who sets the rules, the one who manages the lives of the children. And I get that to a point. As a mother, I'm supposed to be the authority figure. I'm not supposed to give in, I'm not supposed to let my kids walk all over me, and for the most part I don't. And if my memory serves you never did either, yet I consider you my best friend. You were always the one person I wanted to be around the most. That still holds true today. I loved all those trips to the bookstore. All the errands we ran for Grandma or Dad. Spending all those Saturdays when I was in college going to lunch or shopping. Sure I could have gone with my sorority sisters, but I missed you. I missed living at home and watching movies late into the night with you on the couch in our jammies. I want to be best friends with my girls. I want to bake cookies or biscuits at eleven on a Friday night while we watch Jimmy Fallon, even if they shouldn't hear half of what he says. I want to watch SNL with them when they are teenagers and eat popcorn and M&Ms on the couch. I want those things because they are some of my favorite memories with you. And I want that for them. Thank you for teaching me that I can be best friends with my daughters while also being a fantastic mother.

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for raising me your own way, a way that all the parenting books would frown upon now. Thank you for introducing me to books and pop culture. Thank you for letting me watch TV for more hours than are humanly possible. Thank you for working and setting such a strong example of what working moms look like. Thank you for being a feminist and inspiring me to make choices, to own those choices. Thank you for letting me try things and fail, and then try things and fly. Thank you for always telling me that I could do anything, be anything, and love anyone. Thank you for setting boundaries that had movable borders. Thank you for being patient, kind, loving, trusting, and honest. Thank your loving me always and anyway.

But mostly thank you for giving me life. And I mean that in every sense of the word.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. You are truly the Patron Saint of Mothers. 

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