How are you, Mom? I'm doing well. The art of letter writing is almost obsolete, so I decided to sit down and write to you today.
I've thought a lot lately, and I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry. I'm sure you look confused reading that line, so I'll explain. I am sorry that I never took the time to realize that you were a person before you became a mother. You were 26 when you became a mom, and a lot can happen in 26 years. Growing up, friendships, going to university, traveling, boyfriends, heartbreak, letdowns and betrayals.
I never thought of you and Dad as anything but together -- until the divorce, that is. Before that, it seemed to me that it was always that way with you two. Now, as a mom, I can appreciate that a lot of boys probably courted you or called you for dates. I know you never liked to talk about it with us kids, but you were a beautiful young woman, with blonde hair and blue-green eyes. They were probably lining up, taking numbers.
I didn't consider how you had insecurities before becoming a mom, just like me. I understand now that self-criticism doesn't disappear the moment the doctor says, "Congrats, it's a boy/girl!" Sure, as a girl I used to watch you try on clothes and grimace, and witness you try all the fad diets, but I didn't consider how it affected your decisions.
Isn't it weird that the thought didn't cross my mind until now that you were probably also struggling to balance it all with three young kids? You let the laundry pile up and we would complain that our favorite shirt hadn't been ironed, yet didn't notice how late you went to bed to clean up and prepare for the next day. How did I not notice that, Mom?
How did I not notice that you needed compliments and thank-you's just as much as we did? "Thanks for dinner, Mom, it was delicious!" or "All the kids think you're so cool for picking me up every day, even when we live so close to school." Every mom deserves to hear that she's appreciated, and I'm sorry it took me until now to say that.
And lastly, Mom, I'm sorry I judged you for bringing in your baggage to your parenting. Yes, you made mistakes. Big ones. All I saw were the wrongs, without trying to understand. If I had been aware, I would have been compassionate and not run off and become the rebellious teen that I was.
I guess part of it is the beauty of being a kid. We think our parents exist solely to love us and be our rock. Realizing it now will hopefully make me a better mother.
I'm sorry, Mom. I hope you can accept my apology.
P.S. Mom, I can picture you at your kitchen table, reading this letter with a cup of tea, newspaper folded up next to your mail. But Mom, November 29, 2014 marked one year since you passed away. I wish I had come up with these words to tell you when I had the chance.
*Note: My youngest child will be 1 this month (December), and 12 days before he was born, my mother passed away. I live in California, she was in Canada. Full-term pregnant women aren't permitted to fly, so I wasn't there to say goodbye at her funeral, or be by her side when she left this world, as my brothers were.