I’d give anything if you could remember how we have grown together through the years.
The 3 a.m. feedings, the changing of thousands of poopy diapers, cleaning vomit stained clothes, and not going out to a restaurant for over 2 years. I call them the days of learning that happiness came in very small and messy packages.
All those times I fretted over fevers, colic, first steps, first falls, first sleepovers, first day of school, first field trips and first boyfriends, I was learning how to let go of things I couldn’t control.
My stomach was your first home. I witnessed your first breath. I was your first vision. And you instantly became my truest love.
I bore witness to your first step, your first tear, your first boo-boo and your first tooth. I am the watcher and keeper of all that was, and is, you.
All these memories were reserved for me alone. Such a pity. How else could you possibility know the length and breadth of my commitment and love without the memory of our first years together?
You are my only child. It wasn’t planned that way. You always told me you wanted a sibling. I always wanted to give you one. Just one of life’s heartbreaks we were meant to share.
Things were tough from the start. Money was scarce and security an unknown commodity. As soon as you came into my life, we lost our home in foreclosure. There is nothing quite as daunting as being broke and homeless with a newborn baby to feed. Nothing.
But, we made it through. Taking you to the mall in your Fisher-Price roller skates, getting your raincoat and galoshes on to walk through puddles, and dressing your cat Pumpkin and walking him around the block in a baby carriage were just some of your favorite play times. Mine too. Hard times, fond memories.
Nightly readings of the Bernstein Bears, Dr. Suess, and Goodnight Moon, playing board games, making clay animals, building forts, countless lullabies, tiny tooth fairy notes and little mermaid bubble baths were all a part of your happy life. Do you remember? I do.
How could I forget the hot chocolate molten cake runs after school on a particularly bad day? And the “wellness days” we occasionally took from life as we turned off the phones, closed the blinds and disappeared into our own world. The vacations we escaped to, the hours of shopping we did to find the perfect dress, and the thousands of late night talks as we gazed out to the stars from your moon window.
All this made a childhood for you and a motherhood for me.
We shared and built dreams together you and me. Many came true, some didn’t. It was in the planning and scheming that trust was formed. When you thought you had no friends, I sat with you cross legged and talked for hours, watched movies, baked cookies and played games. In the later years when my heart was broken and divorce loomed, you were shocked and disappointed, but you listened and you cared.
There is no way you could know of my sleepless nights when you got your driver’s license and started your first job. The worrying about where you were, how you were and who you were with. The ache when your curfew arrived but you still hadn’t. The fear that lingered when you didn’t answer your phone.
We had our fair share of temper tantrums (both of us), of moody days and dismal nights. But they were few and far between, as life offered little time to dwell on things so minor as resentments and misunderstandings.
When you began your big girl life and got a job at a fancy restaurant downtown, did you know I never slept until I got a text from you that you made it home safely? Crazy, right? There are few things crazier than a panicky mom.
I cheered you on, co-signed for loans, bought fancy pillows and knick-knacks for your new apartment and we talked regularly as we lived our lives 15 miles apart from one another.
When you came home from Greece and announced you had met the man of your dreams, I never doubted it. You were never one to fancy anyone that didn’t merit it. You later married that young man and made a life together. I don’t think you can ever know the pride and happiness I have in my heart for you and your choices.
These days we don’t talk very often. You are so busy with your wonderful husband, fabulous friends, and busy and budding career. I too, am swept up by life. I have built a prospering consulting business and speaking platform, have a wonderful fiancé who keeps me on my toes, and gobs of fabulous friends who keep us dashing from here to there. It’s wonderful to know that we both have the lives we deserve.
And yet, with no intent of imparting guilt (yes, really), I want you to know how much I miss you. Every. Single. Day. I miss the calls and updates, the meetings for lunch, the gossip, the sharing of hopes, dreams and dilemmas. One day, when life slows down a bit, you will miss them too. Separate lives have never meant separate hearts.
You are all grown up now and need your mother far less than the days you first entered this world. But in remembering all that we once were, remember too, all that we still are.
The best of friends, despite occasional differences. A friend that has had your back since the day you took your first breath, and who will continue to love you until the day I leave this world.
And so when I celebrate Mother’s day, I celebrate you. Without having been your mother, I would have missed out on some of life’s happiest moments.
You’ll know precisely what I’m talking about … your turn will come soon enough.
I love you,