This is a total break from what I normally write about, and for those that follow me for my Kdrama and Kpop posts… I apologize. But sometimes, I just have to write about real life and put words on paper that mean something to me. This is one of those times.
As a child, I rarely saw my mom cry, or be anything other than strong and capable. She always made baked goods for the school sales, gave us fantastic birthday parties, gave us amazing Christmases, attended school events, and made sure we had the best prom and homecoming dances possible. She went head to head with teachers that made us cry, grounded us when we needed it, and always had dinner on the table and a roof over our heads. It wasn’t always perfect, but I never felt unloved, ever. As a child, you completely take this for granted. Even through a divorce and a drastic drop in our finances, she still made it all happen.
It wasn’t until I grew up and became a mother that I realized… my mom was alot stronger than I realized. She cried, but only at night and alone where we couldn’t see. She was scared, but never showed us that fear. She didn’t spend time with friends, but worked a 2nd job we didn’t know about to cover the bills. The nights she said she wasn’t hungry, it was to make sure we had enough to eat. Though we got new school clothes each year, her wardrobe never seemed to change. And the gift of a car at 16, no matter if it was older and used, while hers was barely running. All these things you see clearly years later as you struggle and do the same for your own children.
My children are now grown and out of the house. I was not a perfect mother, but my children have fond memories, even with losing their dad when they were 5 and 7. I get phone calls, as they get older, with thanks for things I said or did in the past that make sense now. These same things I heard from my mother, and thanked her for later too. And I’ve watched my mother be proud of me for my achievements with my life and children, even as I wonder if it’s good enough. But that’s what mom’s do.
But the one thing most children never consider is losing their moms. It happens to other people, not me. But as I’ve raised my children and they aged, so did my mother. The woman who was always strong for me, I now have to be strong for. The one who was always the helping hand, needs mine to hold. As she goes through doctor visits, hospital stays, trying to walk again, and dealing with the harsh reality that she can no longer be independent… I have to give her the strength she always gave me. I have to cry away from her as she once did for me. And I have to be the barrier for her fear.
Until this year, I always thought being a daughter was easy, but being a mother was hard. I think I’ve come to realize that being a mother only prepares you for being a daughter later in life and it’s the most painful and rewarding job I will ever have.
I love you, mom.