I’ve written many letters to you about you, and being your mother, and how much I love you, and how you’ve been growing and learning. I love writing these letters and reflecting on where we’ve gotten and who you’ve become since our family grew to three.
For a long time I will continue to be –as simple and complex as it can be– your mother. You will know me as “mama” and you will assume, rightly so, that my job is to be there for you, to feed you, to clothe you, to kiss your owies, to read countless books to you, to drag you around on errands, and to tuck you in at night. Being the person most familiar to you, who has just always been there, you will, understandably, take me for granted. I am your most constant — always have and will be for many more years (at least 16 more if all goes as planned).
My Minka Moo, I accept this position and relationship fiercely, passionately, and enthusiastically. I am yours as much as you are mine.
But the day will come when you will realize I am more than just your mother. And if/when you realize this in your pre-teen or teen years, you will most likely think of me as an alien. You will wonder why I laugh so loud or why I eat chips by the fistful or why I say silly things that are best left for inside my head or why I insist on asking your friends a million questions or why I’m pretty darn particular about how the house is kept or why I get grumpy and take it out on you and Papa for what seems like no reason at all.
What you won’t realize, in your growing independence, is that these traits/quirks/obsessions of mine aren’t new to me. They’re just new to you. I’ve always been this way. You’re just slowly realizing I’m not the perfect caregiver and playmate you always thought me to be. This will be hard on both of us. And when you do come to understand this, there are some things you should know to hopefully understand me better…
–I do best w some quiet time for myself each and every day. Perhaps it’s because I’m an introvert –but no matter what it is, if I don’t find for myself enough time to steal away and do my own thing (read a book, blog, clean the living room, nap, watch trashy reality shows, journal, do my nails, whathaveyou) I get a bit grumpy. And sometimes a little rude. And I’m not proud of it all and I’m working on that. But it’s hard when I know that all I need is alone time and I cannot get it. So please don’t ever stop napping. And we should both be thankful for your father who loves stealing you away for father/daughter adventures. I’m also learning to not be so possessive and compartmental with my time. It is MY responsibility to get out of bed just a little earlier to carve out some sacred, quiet space for myself and make sure I am ready for you and Papa. Again, I’m getting better at it.
–I am learning how to be a better listener but I’ve still got a ways to go. Your Papa is teaching me some really important things on how to put other people first. A big way I can work on this is by listening to other people and without judgment. This goes along with my stubbornness: I assume I’m always right thus it’s hard for me to be a gracious listener when I disagree. This gets me into trouble. Which makes me grumpy. Which makes me need alone time. It’s a vicious cycle. Like I said, I’m working on it. You and I will undoubtedly butt heads over this. I’m sorry. I love you.
–I can’t cook. I was never taught, never thought about learning, and your father enables me. Now, I am working really hard to want to learn for you but it’ll never be the best thing you ate. And if it is, bless you. Needless to say, if your Papa continues to work evenings, we’ll have many dates over take-out and at restaurants. And I’m kinda excited about all those dates with you.
–I laugh really loud. By now you’ve probably figured that one out. I’ve been doing it since I was a baby (ask Pops, he’s got home video to prove it). It’s not ever going to change and if it ever bothers you or embarrasses you this is just something you’re going to have to deal with.
–I react quickly and emotionally to situations I am in. Often this is a very good thing: I have street smarts, I am very good at getting the feel for a situation — knowing when it’s best to stay or flee. I have a pretty darn good judge of character and I do judge people fairly quickly. Most of the time it serves me well. However, I’m human, I’m flawed, I make mistakes. I have probably missed out on meeting some lovely people because they rubbed me the wrong way and/or I misread their vibe the first time around. I will try and be gentle with the friends and dates you bring home even if I’m not too fond of them. If something bad happens, I usually jump to the worst conclusions (doctor’s calls, if Papa doesn’t answer his phone, when I hear sirens in the distance and you and Papa aren’t home). You may want to break bad news to your father first. His response is usually a little more measured. I tend to freak out. Again, I’m working on it.
I tell you these things so that perhaps, one day, when you’re frustrated that I’m not always on point or that I don’t seem to know you the way you assumed I always would, when you realize that I’m human –that I have my own personal struggles, personality quirks, character flaws– you’ll have some grace. And remember that I still love you fiercely, passionately, and forever. I am, enthusiastically, your biggest fan.
I love you.