“The Difficult Lesson,” by William-
AdolpheBouguereau. Image via Wikipedia
I couldn’t think of a tribute that would fully encompass all of how I feel about my mother. I wasn’t able to write something moving about the bond between daughter and parent, every time I started something this week I deleted it.
So instead, I give to you a list of Thank-you’s to a woman far braver than I.
Thank you for leaving me to scream, cry, and flail alone in the grocery store aisle. As I reached out with chubby little hands and demanded you buy me a bag of chips—you put your foot down and said no. The louder I became, the more adamant about your decision you were. As my face turned purple and I started screaming my lungs out after hitting the floor wailing and carrying on—you didn’t give in. You simply told me quietly that when I am done and was ready to act like a decent human being you’d be in the car. You took your grocery cart amidst the gaping onlookers of the store and left me there in the aisle to continue on with my idiocy until my teeny tiny child brain could catch onto things.
You could have caved and bought me those chips just to shut me up, to stop me from making a scene. You didn’t. Thank you for teaching me that acting like Paris Hilton gets you nothing in life. I have not forgotten your lesson.
Thank you for spending the first three years after I was born in a near perpetual sleepless state, washing baby clothes, cleaning up spit-out peas, trying to figure out why I cried for hours on end for no reason and not going insane from it. Thank you for not giving up in those long nights when I wouldn’t be comforted as a baby. I didn’t know it then, but this was part of a lesson in unbending patience and love.
Thank you for not strangling me when I came up with the stupidest ideas on the face of the earth. Like that one time I decided to pull up our neighbors tulips simply because one of the older boys told me it would be an awesome idea. You made me march right over to that lady’s house with my most precious doll in hand and made sure that I handed it over in compensation to her flowers. At the time, I thought that you were tearing my heart out with toothpicks and splattering it on the wall, because that cabbage patch kid doll was the most important thing in my whole world EVAR—but I realized as I grew older that you were trying to teach me that stupid decisions hold consequences. I am trying not to forget this lesson.
Thank you for getting mad at me when I wouldn’t do something I should. Thank you for hounding me about the home work, the science projects, whether or not I was taking notes in class. Thank you for the heart-wrenching disappointment when I failed—reminding me that there was someone behind me in the first place cheering along side me. When I was a teenager I hated this with the passion of a thousand white-hot suns. The constant push to do better, to study, to get good grades; I did not believe I could while you did. I did not think it was worth it while you did your very best to try and tell me it was.
I failed you in this—I didn’t understand you weren’t doing this out of some sick pleasure because OMG LIKE, YOU TOTALLY JUST WANNA LIKE, RUIN MY LIFE!—you were doing it because you loved me and it broke your heart when I did not succeed.
Thank you for telling me outright when my friends sucked. You always knew; either it was mother’s intuition or just plain keen instinct, you always knew when a friend of mine was going to be trouble. You were older, wiser, and you knew what to look for yet every time you told me a friend was no good, I, like the idiot most children are, thought you were some how trying to take away things that made me happy.
This wasn’t true of course, and I was being the usual teenage retard. Inevitably, the friend you’d warn me about would hurt me deeply and leave. I would conveniently forget your advice then and wonder why that person did what they did and how I didn’t see it coming. Thank you for not smacking me upside the head hard enough to leave a dent then, as I would have deserved it. You taught me to listen to people.
Thank you for being my mother. Most of my teen age years were spent lamenting over how awful I thought things were. It is a shame how much time I wasted before my eyes were opened and I realized the best thing I ever had, had always been by my side.
We never truly got along and we don’t always see eye to eye. But I understand now and I will always love you.
Happy Mother’s day.