Scene a week or so before Mother's Day of my childhood almost every....single....year....
Me: *yelling from a room or so away* Hey Mom! Mom! MOOOOMMMM!
Her: WHHHAAAATTTTT?! *annoyed because I'm yelling again after being told a bazillion times not to*
Me: *walking slowly towards her, possibly, even if not I'm likely still yelling* What do you want for Mother's Day?
Her: *looking tired usually* Same thing I ask for every year.
Me: *deadpan* No, really, what do you want.
Her: *straight faced* Peace and quiet. (or) Sleep.
Me: *loud sigh and my 'not so inner' brat being extremely evident* You never tell us what you really want.
Her: *quietly, sweetly, resignedly* I need socks, but anything you get is fine.
-Ooooooohhhhhhhh how I get it now! So here is this year's Dear Mom Letter
I get it, I'm sorry. Thank you for not killing me. More importantly though you need to know a few things. You should know you are the reason I have any strength of character, love, and goodness in me. You have only ever wanted the best for me and I, for years, resented you because I either misunderstood what you were trying to do, felt ashamed for disappointing you, or just felt completely unworthy of the love you give. You lived through and sacrificed so much for us kids and even when I was breaking your heart by becoming all that you were afraid of you loved me anyway. When shame kept me from admitting to myself what you already knew about my life and my marriage you loved me anyway. When I STILL screw up and make a mess of thing, you are right there, loving me anyway. You mom, YOU are why I know it's what you DO and not what you say that means and ultimately says the most. I am not as strong as you are and worry I never will be, but God knows what little strength I do have I get it all from you. I saw when you put yourself in danger to protect me, often from myself. I heard about it when you called the school out and stood up for me. I paid attention when you spoke, even if I didn't always seem to. I saw you doing dishes every day after you cooked the meal, that you often made after you got home from work. I saw how tired you were after you got home from a long shift, and STILL did housework and stayed available if we needed you. I never forgot how you rubbed the feet of an elderly patient and tucked them back under the covers as you spoke softly and warmly to him. I was so jealous of him in that moment even as my heart swelled with pride. (You are and always will be the nurse I compare all other nurses to.) In that incredibly brief and selfish moment I'd forgotten you sitting up, holding me, rubbing my feet when I was little, and always speaking the very same way with me during my fevers, and earaches, and at that time braxton hicks. You DID love, but in my ignorance I didn't hear it because you weren't and aren't a loud, huggy, kissy, showy kind of person. You never really said it because you never stopped living it, it should have been obvious. I'm sorry for any pain my blindness caused you. That was one hell of a peanut butter moment* on my part. Know I was sooo proud that you could put away your feelings and make someone else feel they were the most important person in the world even if just for a second or two. I wanted to be just like you, and I still do. I didn't know that it was your love for us that kept you working so hard for others so you could take care of us. I also didn't understand how difficult it could be to be loving and soft to a hard headed mouthy teenager that knew it all but didn't truly know or appreciate you at all. (I can be such a huge pain in the ass sometimes. I'm sorry.) I took you for granted, and I'm sorry I did. I wish I could go back and have a 'do over', but I honestly don't think either one of us is up for reliving those days! hahahaha I can only hope and pray that my head is sufficiently pulled far enough out of my rear end to make the most of the fact you are here, now, and to show you, not just tell you how much you really mean to me. I love you mom, YOU are the best part of me.
P.S. No, I don't want anything. Well, that's not true. I want you to be healthy and happy and to spend time with you, the one person that's always had my back, and one of my very best friends.
Now if any of you out there have gotten this far and see the woman in the pictures below give her a salute, because not only is she the best mom in the world, she was an officer and IS a United States Air Force Vietnam veteran, she sooooo earned it! (I used to love it when people said my mama wore combat boots I'd retort "Yes! Yes she did, and better than you could!" I actually found out she never did wear combat boots as a nurse/officer, but God knows she would have rocked them if she had! hahahaha She is awesome!
My mama y'all! Though she be but little, she is fierce!