Remember all those times you shook your head in frustration and told me, “You will understand when you’re older.” Well, I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you, but you were right. And now that I am older, I realize that you will always be right about that.
I know now how hard it was for you every day to wake up and get ready for work–and get three kids ready for school. I know how tired you must have felt, but the weight of obligation pulled you out of those sheets every morning. I also know now how much you loved us then to be able to do that. And how much you love us now that you can witness the products of your dedication.
I know this now because when I wake up in the morning, all I want to do is go back to sleep. But then, I hear their little voices calling out to me and it’s the overwhelming desire to never let them down that gets me moving.
I understand now why you always expected me to do the best that I could. I resented you at the time and I believed you to hold impossible standards, expecting nothing less than perfection. But that wasn’t it at all. You just saw my potential and you helped push me until I could see it for myself. And now I live every day with that expectation of myself and I owe all my success to you.
I understand it now because as I watch them grow, all I can do is marvel at the tiny humans before me. I see the world at their feet and I want them to conquer it all and achieve their own versions of greatness, whatever that might look like for them.
I see the sacrifices you made in an entirely new light now, and the words “thank you” seem insignificant–but at the moment, it’s all I have to offer. You made choices every single day–the tough choices, the selfless choices–out of your love for us and your desire to give us the best possible resources so we could thrive. You willingly gave up a life you should have had in order to give us a chance at a life we could have.
I see it now because I am facing those decisions every day, and I can’t help but marvel at the strength you had to consistently decide in our favor over your own. We must all choose between making sacrifices or making do.
Life has a funny way of surprising us every day, with the good and the bad. Even when we think we are prepared to face anything, we are never prepared. But every day you taught me to prepare, and every night you showed me how to let go and keep moving forward. Our lives have not been free of tragedy, but I believe that’s exactly what makes our sunlight burn a little more brightly. You showed me how to turn my face to the rays and soak it all in, how to embrace God’s love and accept Him into our hearts even on the rainy days. Especially during life’s hurricanes.
I needed you to know this. I needed to find some form of showing you just how grateful and blessed I am to have you in my life. I will constantly strive to know you and in doing so, to know myself.
You are a warrior. You are a survivor. You are my mother.
And I love you.