I have been a daughter for 25 years, but more importantly, you have been a mom for that amount of time as well. We have come a long way if I don’t say so myself. I have never been an easy child, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t wonder what would be different had I not been an only child. I started looking for trouble from a young age, and that isn’t your fault; you and dad did the best that you could to make sure I was capable of following all and any of my dreams. No one can really prepare you for what kind of problems, habits, or quirks your child is going to have, but Mom, let’s not forget, neither of us have done this before, and like you, I am having to deal with the surprises of life as well.
Looking back on my 25 years of life, I recognize the many moments where I have been selfish, irresponsible, untrustworthy, and even, disappointing. Know that there are a lot of things I am not proud of, but also know, that I do not regret any of them. This is where we often disagree, but Mom, I want you to see it from my perspective; everything that has led me to this moment has shaped me into who I have become. Every decision, good or bad, has made an impact on the person that I am today, and if it weren’t for the tough love that you gave me, I would have never learned when I was wrong in the first place. I know you blame yourself for the way some things turned out, but again, you are always taking a risk with the gene pool when you make that choice to create another person. For the record, I would never choose to be another way, because with my questionable traits, are the ones that balance me out. With the good comes the bad, and with the highs, come the lows. No one would want to have a child if you were given a ‘receipt’ that listed all the issues they would face in the years to come. It’s not like I was born with a warning label that said:
Proceed with caution. Child will experience periods of deep sadness, and should never take anything out of moderation. Child is prone to addictive tendencies, compulsive behaviors, and self-destructive ways of coping with stressful or emotional situations. Child has an obsessive need to control certain aspects in one’s life. Performs well under pressure, and loses interest easily when task is no longer presenting a challenge. This child is an extremist, and if not careful, will make irrational life decisions that put said child in danger. This child has the potential for much more than comprehended, and because of this, will often doubt the purpose in their actions. This child is capable of anything they set their mind to, but must fight the internal battle of self-sabotaging their own journey.
For the most part, it was inevitable that you would lose control of me at some point in my life, let’s just be thankful that we went through it sooner rather than later. Growing up, I always seemed to be a ‘gifted’ child, especially in regards to anything athletic, or offering me up some kind of challenge. It was when I figured out that I was a good liar that my ‘talents’ started to take me down the wrong path, and it was in that moment that you started to lose control.
This is the part where I want to stress that you did all the motherly things that were asked of you, and so much more, that never were. The countless hours you spent watching me play soccer all the way through my collegiate career, because you knew all along that I could make it that far. The selfless moments that you had to forget what you wanted, and cater to me because I always came first in your life. The various times I made you support me through situations neither one of us wanted to be in, but nonetheless, I put us there. The frustrating times you had to bite your tongue because I was determined to always be right, and the even more frustrating times when I was. There have been a handful of moments in my life where I have had to say out loud, “Mom, you were right.” I may not tell you about all of these occurrences, but know that they do occur, and I always pay attention.
You always knew when I needed a hug versus being yelled at, and you could always tell when I felt truly sorry for something. You were there for me when my heart was broken the first time, and you were extra protective the next time I decided to give my heart away to someone new. You never failed to show up to any sporting event of mine, and you have been there for all of the moments that made me a true athlete. You were always a face I looked for in the stands, because for my whole existence, you will always be the person I need when something good or bad happens. We may have had some dark moments, but at the end of the day, a girl always needs her Mom.
There are many things I don’t say out loud, and letting you know how thankful I am for all that you have done for me has never been something that came easily. I struggle with voicing how I feel, which is a big part of the reason I lean so much on my ability to write about it. If there is anything that you take away from this, it’s that Mom,
You did all of the right things. You are a good Mom.
You loved me when I wasn’t easily loved, and you were there when nobody else was. You have always been my biggest fan, and I have often taken advantage of that; but know that in my 25 years of life, you are one of two reasons for why I am the way I am TODAY (the other one being, Dad). It is because of you, and the love you have provided me since the day you became a Mom, that I am able to see the love I have had inside of me all along. Thank you for never giving up on me, even when I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did, and thank you for reminding me that no matter what, I am loved, even when I may not feel like I am.
So, here is to 25 years of being your daughter. Thank you for all that you do, all that you have done, and all that is ahead of us.
I love you, Mom.