Saturday, May 8, 2010

To My Mother, on Mothers' Day

Dear Mom,

There are no words to properly express the love, admiration, care, and all the other feelings I have for you, or the depths to which those feelings reach. But I'm going to give it a try, and hope that what I write can give you some idea of how I feel.

One day out of a year does not give us enough time to honor our mothers; every one of us has one, and I don't think we think enough about what ours did for each of us. Who was the person most responsible for who we are today? Who was the one that taught you the most basic things in life? Who showed you what really matters; not what you can learn from a book, or a teacher, or your friends? Who was always providing a living example of how to be, act, express yourself, and live?

Your mother was, of course. Every mother does these things, whether they know it or not. Oh, some aren't very good, of course; some fail spectacularly. There are plenty of examples of that in this world. Most moms, we know, are very, very good at what they do. And chances are that being a mother is not all that they do. That they are able to be mothers, along with their being wives, teachers, friends, athletes, CEOs, and everything else, not to mention combinations of all these things, is nothing short of miraculous! But they
do, and they do it so well, you don't even realize it. How many of us take it for granted what mom did for us, and still does for us? Even for those of us whose mothers are gone, she's still with you, with the memories and examples she gave us; she gave you those intangible things so that you would know what to do even when she was no longer there.

How I see mothers is, naturally, because of my own mom. My mom has been teaching me what I need to know since the day I was born. To this day, I still realize things that came from her, though I didn't know that until I thought about it. And it's true, I have taken her for granted at times. Foolishly, too, for there is no one else in this world that I shouldn't do so. There is no person in this world like you, Mom, and I'm so happy to have you that I don't know what I'd do without you.

I've put my mom through so much in my lifetime. There were times in the past when we definitely did not see eye to eye, to say it nicely. I'm not going to go into those here; you know them, too, Mom, and I'm glad we're through and past them. But there's one period, quite recently, and it's been the defining time of my life up until now, that I'd like to go into further.

Yes, it's that whole gender change thing. I don't know what went through your head when I first told you what was coming, although I do know I could have done that better. I know you were not happy, and angry. And sad. And hurt. And many other emotions and thoughts. In many ways, I let you down. It took a long time for you to get through what you were feeling. I knew this would affect us profoundly; after all, I wasn't doing this to only myself, but to every person I knew. I dreaded telling you. When I did, I knew that many people who go through what I did lose their parents forever. That didn't happen, though I don't know how close it came to being. Things were very shaky, at least that's how I saw it, for the better part of a year.

But then, for Christmas, you gave me a necklace. A simple chain, with a silver heart hanging from it. No other gift you have given me has ever meant so much to me. It showed me that you still loved me, even after everything, and that while you may not have been happy with where I was going, you could accept it. I have never loved you more than at that moment. Just thinking about it as I write it now, moves me to tears. I have rarely removed my necklace since that day; it means too much to me to not wear it, and show it, and be proud of it. For even though the people that see it may not know what it means (and I hope they do, now), I know, and you know. I always want your heart near my heart!

Finally, being a parent now myself, I can only hope to live up to the example you gave to me. I have certainly had moments where I had to think fast, and just relied on what I know you would do. I know it will only get more challenging as my son gets older. How I face those challenges will be because of you. I can only hope to make you as proud of me as I am of you.

I love you, Mom. I can't say it enough, or how much. But I thank you every day, not just Mothers' Day. And I wanted everyone to know that. Now the whole world can see it.

And I just wanted you to know, too.

5 comments:

  1. wow beautiful

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  2. This is a pretty special thing to get on Mothers day, or any ot her for that matter. I have nevcer stopped loving you and I never will. As you said, we have had our ups and downs but I don't think I have told you how courageous I think you are and how I have admired what you have done to be you who you truely are. If I had anything to do with that then I am proud of who you have helped ME to be.

    I love you, I always will, and you're stuck with me.

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  3. Jennifer...your message to your mother leaves me speechless. One of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Honestly.

    -Andrea

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  4. Wow... so beautiful. And so true. What a lovely gift for your lovely Mom Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world. :)

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  5. As I read your words Jennifer I am so very proud of you. You are an amazing woman and I know your mom is so proud of you. I am so honored to be your friend!

    I have loved your mother from the day I met her and have looked to her for support, wisdom and knowledge. She guided me in so many ways - motherhood is included!

    Thank you for being Jennifer and for being Anne's wonderful daughter!

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