I distinctly remember being a little girl, and always thinking that I wanted to grow up to be just like you.
For you, those must have been the golden days, pre-dating my terrible high school attitude. I followed you around everywhere, and I thought that you knew everything. I asked millions of questions because to me, you were the smartest, funniest, prettiest lady alive.
And then (regrettably) I turned 13. (Moment of silence for the middle school years.)
There’s something about becoming a teenager that just echoes the words “I HATE YOU MOM!” Between the racing hormones and changes in life, we just didn’t get along. From 13 on, I went from thinking you were a queen and I was your princess, to thinking that you were still a queen (B) and I was your slave. Every responsibility you gave me made me feel like an indentured servant. Of course I thought you were always out to get me.
Naturally, who did I turn to? Well, I turned to Daddy–the knight in shining armor that would stop the evil queen in all of her grounding-me-for-not-cleaning-my-room fury. Daddy always had a soft spot for me. Whereas moms are totally immune, daddies have a weakness for the lower-pouty lip like no other, and I knew if I turned to him I could always get what I want.
Over the dark ages of the teenage years, you must have felt pretty left out, or maybe even like the bad guy. I loved Daddy because he always let me get away with things, and because we seemed to get along best. You and I clashed all the time, and it seemed like we couldn’t go a single day without arguing.
Mom, as bad as they may have been, I want to thank you for those years.
As I write this letter to you from college, I realize that those many years spent arguing with you, crying, yelling, and sometimes not talking for hours happened because you loved me. Even amidst the disagreements, you still held me when I cried about the guys that were jerks. Looking back on it, there were way more good times than there were bad. You always were there when my friends ditched me, and you always knew what to say.
If you were just like Daddy, I wouldn’t know the first thing about being a woman.
I wouldn’t know how to manage my money (because Daddy’s wallet was seemingly endless), I wouldn’t know how to clean up after myself (please don’t make me do the dishes, Dad!), and I wouldn’t know how to work hard.
I wouldn’t know how to get over a break up, or shrug off losing a bad friend. Daddy didn’t know about those girly things, he just wanted to kill the boys that hurt me, and when it came to my girlfriends, he didn’t have a clue how they worked. Remember when he told me to wrestle them to solve our problems? Yeah, again, I am SO glad I had you.
Mom, you have shaped me into the woman I am today.
It seems like just yesterday, I was hiding my face in shame as you dropped me off in the car-rider’s line on my first day of high school. Obviously, I was way too cool to be seen with my mom, and I wanted everyone to think that I drove myself to school at the age of 14. I even remember my reaction when you screamed that you loved me out the window in front of all the “cool high school guys”….
Now, I would give anything for you to drive me from class to class.
I was still weary when you guys left me in my dorm the first day of college, “OKAY guys, no more pictures! BYE! I LOVE YOU! GO! I’ll be home for fall break!” Sure, I acted cool. I bet you had no clue I cried the whole night I was here after my first day of class. I couldn’t find my way around, I didn’t know anyone, and there was no dinner waiting for me when I was done. I missed home so much. I missed you…so much.
I would give anything to be able to come home to you every day. To talk to you about boys, the girls that make me feel bad, and all the work that’s stressing me out. I miss our marathons of crappy reality TV shows and junk food that we would have when it was just us in the house.
I hate that you’re not just downstairs anymore when I need a shoulder to cry on, because there have been so many nights here in college when I really, really do.
It’s funny how life comes full circle.
Just like I did when I was six, I now know that you are the most beautiful, most intelligent, most hilarious, and most inspirational woman in my life. You are my hero Mom, and now, more than ever, I know that I want to be like you when I grow up.
I know I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl, and I know that there were many years where we didn’t get along, but I want you to understand something…
You are not my best friend. No, that would be a disservice to call you my best friend. Friends change and fade and drift apart. Instead, you are my angel on Earth. You spent hours in labor with me, you changed my diapers, and you dealt with my attitude. You always watch over me, and you’re there whenever I need you. You don’t get tired when I call and ask for money, or complain about being broke in college. You don’t criticize me when I make bad decisions, you help me learn from them. Most importantly, you always make sure that I know I am loved.
Mom, I wanted to write this letter to you to not only apologize for all of my horrendous side-bang-eye-liner-wearing-attitude years, but also to thank you for making me, the Ultimate Daddy’s girl…..a Mom’s Woman.
I love you Mom, I always will….now stop crying you’re embarassing me.
(Kidding of course.)