This letter appears in the May 2021 issue of Lake Norman CURRENTS.
My mother and I have always had a complicated relationship, and I think that’s true for a lot of mothers and daughters. But as I’ve grown older and become a mom myself, there are so many things I would like to tell my mother.
I understand that you can tell yourself that you may be the type of person who doesn’t need to have children, and then you hold your child for the first time and your heart becomes a messy puddle.
You will realize there’s a huge difference between the ages of 1 and 2 years and become that person who proudly shares that your child is “Sixteen months old!”
You may end up with a child who is so completely opposite from the way you were at that age, but you will still love and support them fiercely.
I know now that becoming a mother requires a great deal of sacrifice—you have to learn to think of people other than yourself and how your actions and decisions will affect them.
There will be days when you wish for nothing but a peaceful and quiet house, and then miss your children about an hour into that peaceful and quiet house.
Parenting comes with many highs and lows—you have to mentally prepare yourself for the bad days as much as you do the good days.
Giving yourself grace becomes a necessity—you aren’t always going to say the right things or react in the appropriate manner. But the most important thing is to love your child unconditionally and not be afraid to apologize if you think you’ve stepped out of line.
I understand the words “tough love” so much more now, because sometimes you have to watch your children fail in order for them to learn the hard lessons.
No matter how much you try not to, some part of you will always live vicariously through your children. And I think that’s okay and to be expected.
You will probably have to endure more hours in a car than you’d like, while your child sits behind the wheel and you stomp on an imaginary brake. But it will all be worth it on the day you finally get the hang up your chauffer hat and they pull out of your driveway alone.
My children are now 15 and 17 and I’m clinging on for dear life, trying to savor every moment I still have with them. My conversations with my own mother are so much different now, too, as we are both members of a club we’ve gone through with trial by fire.
On May 9th of this year, my wish for you is that you make time to spend time with or talk to the mothers in your life that you know, admire and respect. And remember that being a mother stretches far beyond celebrating it one day each year in the spring—it’s a lifetime commitment.