To my mother on Mother’s Day

My mom lives very far away, and I miss her. We’ve had all kinds of the usual challenging relationship moments that a woman can only experience with her mother, of course, but that doesn’t make me miss her any less.

My mom
This is my mom. She likes fixing things.

I miss her when I relax in the evening with a cup of tea.
I miss her when I want to complain about my stubborn eldest daughter.
I miss her when I want to show her the fun new baby tricks my youngest daughter has this week.
I miss her when I need to just have that one-on-one sort of talks about nothing and everything that you can only have with your mother.
I miss her when I want to rant about things that I don’t have control over but just need to rant at someone who won’t hold it against me.

And I miss her when I realize that for some things, when you’re dealing with your own daughters, the only person you can think of to talk to is your mother, because chances are good she had to deal with something similar from you.

Nothing makes you understand what your mother has been through better than becoming a mother. And while the way she did things might not necessarily be how you would handle the same situation, at least once you’re a mom yourself you start to understand just why she handled it that way. Because sometimes you do what you have to so you can survive the moment with as little fallout as possible. And sometimes you do what you feel is right, even if no one else thinks so, because you are the mom and sometimes you really are right, and everyone else can’t see all the sides that you see. And sometimes you just make mistakes and move on, because dwelling on them doesn’t help anyone, and there are children to raise in the meantime.

At some point you realize that you’re kind of lucky she didn’t just throw up her hands and give up on you, because you know intimately now — no matter how impossible and unmanageable and ridiculous and frustrating things get, there’s no quitting being mom. It’s not like you don’t know that before you have kids, but when you do have them, you understand it.

So I thank my mom for all the usual things you thank a mom for: being there, raising me, teaching me, helping me through stuff, letting me figure stuff out on my own. And I thank her for giving me her best, and for not hiding the hard stuff. I thank her for being real, and being herself, and letting me do the same. Everything she’s done has done more than even I know to make me into the woman — and mother — that I am today. So thanks, mom. I miss you and I love you.