Dear Mom: You Were Right. About Everything.
Photo: Rene Syler
For the record, my mom rocks! Of course, I didn't tell her that as a teen and, truth be told, I probably let those words get stuck in my throat more than I should even now, as an adult. But I learned so much from her, which is why I feel compelled to tell her I'm sorry.
Why, you ask? Because as a teenager I knew it all. And you know that whole payback thing? It's happening to me right now, as I'm raising a teen who has clearly been sipping from the same fountain of knowledge I was at that age. Now that I'm on this side of the developmental divide, I need to issue a blanket apology to my poor mother, who really was so much smarter than I knew at the time. So here goes.
Mom, I'm sorry for every time I sucked my teeth when you asked me to do what I thought were completely unreasonable tasks. Like remove the dishes from under my bed, especially the ones that still had food on them (I know, gross).
I'm sorry for the times I rolled my eyes when you told me those shorts were too short (they were), blue eye shadow did not look good (it didn't), and that I had plucked my eyebrows too thin (I had). However, in my feeble defense, you did leave me alone with the tweezers.
I'm sorry for the times I told you (under my breath and out of earshot) that you didn't know what you were talking about when you said family was more important than friends.
I'm sorry I took those friends' side when they said you were too strict because you wouldn't let us ride our bikes in the street after dark.
I'm sorry for the times, as a young adult, that I was short with you; impatient because you didn't understand my job and had the temerity (in my mind) to ask about it.
And I'm sorry for the times now when I'm so stressed, busy or distracted that I don't give you the proper time and attention when we talk.
You are an awesome mom and a book of the life lessons I learned from you could easily be a bestseller: Things like how to keep going when you feel like quitting, how to take care of yourself so that you can care for others, how to rebuild your life after a 20-year marriage disintegrates, and on and on.
In short, mom, thanks. Your fingerprints are all over my life and for that I am thankful. I hope I can be as patient and strong as you were (and are) as I raise your grandbabies.
Because I, too, now know the struggles of trying to raise the smartest person on the planet.
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