I never got the chance to appreciate you as a mother. There was so much life still to do. And not just the big milestones. I’m talking about the parts when daughters grow into mothers themselves and have the chance to appreciate their moms for everything they did for them. The chance to get to know their own mother as a person instead of just a parent.
You left this earth soon after I became I mother myself. And now I sit here and think back on memories of you from when I was growing up. And, oh, how I would love to be able to say I’m sorry.
I’m sorry I never truly saw you in all of your glory.
I’m sorry I never appreciated all of your sacrifices.
I’m sorry I had no empathy for how much you died to self just to give us everything.
But now I see. Now I understand.
I understand there was a person underneath all that “mom.” There was an individual with her own unique dreams, goals, doubts, insecurities, and fears. At times, I’m sure she was screaming to be let out.
To be noticed.
To be heard.
But all we saw was mom.
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I made the mistake of assuming it was enough for you just to be a bystander in my life.
If only there were a chance that I could go back.
If I could go back and do it all again, I would do things differently.
I would care more about helping you pick out a dress for my wedding that complimented your aging body. I was young. I had no concept of aging and time and the insecurities that came with it all.
If I could go back, I would really listen to your words when we spoke and care more about what you said. I’d pay close attention when you talked about things that made you happy. Try to help more when you voiced a problem. Instead of just going on and on about my life.
If I could go back, I would take you to do things that would be your idea of fun. Like making more trips to that pottery import store where you could shop for hours. Or take you out browsing for plants in the spring and Halloween decorations in the fall.
If I could have you back, I would give enough grace to realize that women losing themselves to motherhood is not just a problem we face today, but a problem that women have faced for a very long time. And that especially includes you too.
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I get it now, Mom. I’m a mom too.
I deal with losing myself to motherhood every day.
But because now I know what it’s like to be a mom, I think that maybe, being just a bystander in your child’s life probably is enough. It might just be more than enough actually.
But if I could go back . . .
I would try harder to be your friend instead of just your daughter.