An Open Letter to the Woman who Taught Me Everything

Mom,

I never knew how hard it was. I know you worry about me now, but how did you do it? You had some support, but not nearly as much as I do…I can’t imagine doing it all on my own, but you did.

We may have our differences. There are things about each other that neither of us will ever be able to fully understand. We are each a product of the worlds we grew up in, and those worlds were completely different…you made sure I had everything I needed, as well as almost everything that I wanted…you gave me the life that you never had.

Times were tough, but I never knew it. Only now do I look back and realize that the things I loved so much (like Ramen, potatoes or cold cereal) were actually what we had because you couldn’t afford anything else. I always had the best toys. I was dressed well, and always had the best Halloween costumes…not to mention the most AMAZING birthday parties and cakes. There must have been so many nights that you went hungry to make sure that I had everything, and I was clueless.

You’d come home, exhausted, strain showing in the corners of your eyes, with a bright smile and what seemed like plenty of energy to spend with me. You introduced me to literature, and to baking, and to so many other things that I still love.

Puzzles still ensnare me, I color at 22, and I still watch Disney movies. I sing show tunes and blast Alanis, Meredith and Dolly two minutes later. I become invested in book characters and can still make my own fun; something that I was always confused when my peers weren’t the same way.

Thank you for this. We may not have always had the newest technology, but we had everything we needed and more. I bridge the gap between generations, living the best of both worlds.

And then you brought Dad into our lives, and the rest of the loving, fantastic people who came with him, and things couldn’t have been better. I had a little brother, one who I loved but didn’t always show it…We made it through it all.

I don’t think you ever realized that all I ever wanted was to be like you. You seemed so strong, and so I modeled myself after you in the best ways. You taught me to form my opinions and my morals and to stick to them. You taught me that it’s okay to say no. You taught me what it was to be a host, as well as what it meant to be a truly independent woman in a world that still doesn’t fully appreciate that…especially in our rural community.

Thank you for everything. You will never know how much I really did appreciate it, even if I didn’t always show it.

Love,

Your Headstrong Little Girl