I didn’t get you.
You worried about me so much. And goodness knows that, at times, that worry felt entirely suffocating.
You enforced rules upon rules upon rules, never wavering nor backing down.
You didn’t let me see certain movies.
You wouldn’t allow me to spend time with those friends.
You gave me a curfew.
You wouldn’t get me a cell phone.
You never took me to the salon to get highlights despite my insistent pleas.
You poked and prodded when you noticed how thin I’d become.
You didn’t let me step foot in Abercrombie & Fitch.
You checked my movie stubs to ensure I hadn’t gone to see that PG-13 movie you’d forbidden.
You made me finish my homework before anything else.
You limited my phone calls (mostly because I was tying up the landline and we didn’t have call waiting, I’m sure) and chats on Instant Messenger.
You plowed through an abundance of awkward discomfort to discuss topics that I didn’t even want to think about, let alone chat with you about.
You made my lunches, complete with the occasional napkin note, all the way from kindergarten through high school.
You drove me everywhere until I was seventeen, making me wait a whole extra year to get my driver’s license.
You held my hand.
You kissed my boo-boos.
You braided my hair.
You played Polly Pockets.
You painted my nails.
You read me bedtime stories.
You slept on my floor so that we could stay up late having “girl talk.”
You cheered me on.
You showed up to everything, front and center, a blank tape in the camera recorder ready to capture each and every moment of whatever it was I was doing this time.
And I didn’t get you then. I didn’t understand you, why you did the things you did the way that you did. I couldn’t grasp why you were always so concerned about me, why you were constantly hovering and probing and nagging.
But when I told you that, when I openly aired my copious frustrations, you always told me the same thing: “Just wait. One day, when you have children of your own, you’ll understand.”
So I thought that this Mother’s Day I’d let you know that, just as you said I would, I understand.
I’ve experienced only a fraction of motherhood, but it’s already shaken me to my core. It’s altered my DNA, completely shifting my perspective of this beautiful life I am blessed to live.
Because I’ve had those tiny fingers wrapped around my own.
I’ve felt that fluttering heartbeat against my chest.
I’ve stared into eyes as blue as the ocean that peered back at me with a connection beyond words.
I’ve rocked my little one to sleep, giggling with joy as his eyelids flitter once exhaustion finally consumes him.
I’ve experienced first smiles, first words, and first steps.
I’ve been on the receiving end of, “I love you, Mommy.”
I’ve swooped up and snuggled after a nasty fall, melting away the sting of it all with one, simple kiss.
I’ve watched with both agony and elation as two little humans have grown and changed and flourished before my very eyes, seemingly at the speed of light.
I’ve loved in a way that I’d never known even existed.
I’ve dreamed and hoped and planned and prayed only the very best, only the good things that life has to offer, for two vulnerable, precious human beings.
So now, Mom, it all makes sense. Because you were the one to hold my tiny fingers, stare into my eyes, and experience my firsts; you were the one to dream, hope, plan, and pray the best for me.
The picture has come into focus, and my admiration for you has multiplied one million times over. I’m immensely grateful for this opportunity to view things through your eyes, to see life through the sacred lens of motherhood.
And, in the midst of their pure frustration at my mothering, at my entirely suffocating concern for them and their well being, I can’t wait to say to my boys, “Just wait. One day, when you have children of your own, you’ll understand.”