I was a colicky baby, and as I got older I learned exactly what this was. My initial thoughts were as simple as wow, that must’ve been hard on my mom. But, I got a much better idea of how hard it really was seeing my sister struggle with my colicky nephew. My heart broke for her.
When I became a mother myself, I looked at everything in a new light.
I think about my own mother’s sleepless nights. Dozing off just to be woken up immediately after. Feeding me, changing diapers, and trying her best to soothe me while helplessly listening to me cry. It’s a feeling you’ve never had before, and it truly sinks in once you become a parent. Seeing your child hurt or suffering from a pain you can’t fix is the most extreme feeling of helplessness fathomable.
She shared her body with me and for me for nine months.
She braved the excruciating pains of labor and gave me life. Being sick or sleepy was simply not permitted. She fed me, bathed me, clothed me, and comforted me. She rocked me to sleep and held me until her arms were asleep and her body was on the verge of collapsing. In return, I threw up all over her and cried most of the night.
As I got older she washed my clothes, cooked my meals, and worked so incredibly hard to provide a safe home for me to live in. In return, I made messes I didn’t clean up and showed little appreciation for everything she did for me. Blissfully ignorant to the enormous stress that comes along with getting me to practices and competitions while taking care of a home at the same time. She was my personal chauffeur, and in return, I was embarrassed by her dancing in the car. And now, I couldn’t be more ashamed of myself.
I moved through life completely oblivious to the sacrifices she made each and every day. I was absolutely unaware of how hard it is to be a mother, in a state of perpetual worry. Wondering every day if you’re good enough or if you’re doing the right thing.
It wasn’t until I reached adulthood that I truly realized and appreciated my mother.
I owe everything to her. Every piece of who I am and the woman I am proud to be.
She taught me the power and importance of being silent. Silence was scary, and it always got my attention. She was quiet for a reason, and the silence forced me to think. And when she did decide to say something, I knew it was time to listen. She told me everything I needed to know without saying a word.
I now love my own mother in a much different way, even deeper than I ever imagined possible. I see the love in my son’s eyes as he looks at his mamaw, and the love in my mom’s eyes when she looks at him. I feel the complete shift in energy when she walks into a room and the sense of relief that comes with her presence.
I now know the immense strength it takes to be a good mother.
How it feels to be challenged and pushed to your limit, especially after a sleepless night. And to just keep going. I know the dedication and devotion it requires. I don’t know how she always held it together, but she did. And she is still the glue that holds me together. She is, quite literally, the definition of selfless.
So, Mom, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for putting your life on hold and putting mine first. For the sleepless nights, the money spent I didn’t deserve, and for being the perfect role model. Thank you for teaching me to love myself and to care about others more than myself. For teaching me silence, generosity, independence, and humility. Most of all, thank you for your crazy car dancing. May you never stop.
A mother never stops being a mother, and I couldn’t live without mine.
I love you, Mom.