I know today is supposed to be about me. Or…moms in general. But really, it’s about you. From the moment I first found out I was pregnant with you, it has been about you.
Your Dad and I laid awake that first night, nervously talking about our future. Where we should live. If I should keep my job. Where we wanted you to go to school. Every decision from that moment on was no longer about what was best for us as a couple, but what was best for us as a family.
When you were only a centimeter long, you had already changed what I ate, what I drank and how much I slept. I quit smoking, not for my health, but for yours.
Because of you, we went back to church, worried about food additives, read parenting books, bought life insurance, created a will, bought MORE life insurance, moved to a better neighborhood, bought a bigger car, got rid of the evil cat, put all of our medicine where you couldn’t reach it (until you were about 2 and started climbing), stopped drinking alcohol, put child latches on all of the cupboards and covers on all of the outlets, got Pepper, a hamster, hermit crabs, Milo, Rocky, Midnight and the horrible disgusting rats.
You. Changed. Everything. But especially me.
So many times, you hear in speeches or read in sappy stories about how “My parents made me who I am today”. So seldom, however, do you hear about how children changed their parents, and made them into different people as well.
When you both were little, and whining for the millionth time about something completely ridiculous, I won’t lie and say I may not have wished for you to grow up. That I may not have always appreciated little hands and little voices. I can honestly say though, that this is the only regret I have of being a parent: The regret of knowing that I could have been a better one.
And now you are both grown (or almost so) into amazing, smart, funny, loving, generous beautiful adult souls. You are responsible, contributing members of society, hard working and learning the “cost of toilet paper”, as my own mother used to say when talking about the responsibilities of being an adult. I am thrilled and proud that you grew up exactly as I had hoped – to be determined enough, strong enough, and confident enough to be independent.
But there is more that I hope you have learned, and it is this:
At the end of the day, what matters most is the people you love, the people you come home to each night. It’s not how much money you make or what you do for a living. It’s not how much education you have or who you know in high circles. It’s not the conquering victories or the humiliating defeats. It is your family. Your friends. Your loved ones.
The people who stick with you when you are happy or sad. Angry or bad. Succeeding or failing. Poor or rich. Sick or healthy. Living or dying. The ones who wipe your nose when you are sick. The ones you celebrate birthdays with. The ones you drive to the emergency room at 2am. The ones who hold your hands so you don’t choke someone. The ones you change your plans for. The ones you change your mind for. The ones you love without condition. And they love you back.
When you were little, the best gift your Dad and I tried to give you was our love. And you gave it right back to us, pressed down and overflowing. And that is truly how you changed me and made me who I am today. A mom, who cherishes and loves you, without rules or conditions, thrilled and proud to celebrate you, just for being you, on this Mother’s Day and all the days in between.
May God bless you and keep you all of your days.