The older I get, the more I appreciate my mom. And it’s not because I see the mom-world through her eyes, or that I suddenly think she did everything so spot on (though I do think she did most things spot on). As I enter the early teen years with my firstborn, I realize how much alike my mom and I are- and how much alike my daughter and my pre-teen self are. And while that scares me, a lot, it also makes me somewhat regretful and hopeful at the same time, if that’s possible. So I thought a lot about what I should say to my Lilly, now that she’s beginning to navigate a new slice of life…and knowing what I know about being a daughter who made some mistakes when it came to my own mom….
You are the one who made me a mom, nearly twelve years ago. I can’t even begin to explain to you the fear, the excitement, the panic, the love and the pride that came when you were born. Seeing you change over the course of the past decade and beyond has been one of the best things in my life. You continue to surprise me with the way you carry yourself, and the way you treat others. I am impressed by you, beyond measure.
If I could give you some loving, motherly advice, from my own experience, it would be this:
Treat your mom with the respect she deserves. She works hard to provide for you. She makes sacrifices for you, which you may never fully understand. She has a love for you that no one can undo. She always, always, always has your best interest at heart. She wants to protect you, trust that. She has seen things, and done things that she never wants you to see or experience. Though she may not always say it, she sees the best in you, and wants the world for you.
Yes, she will embarrass you. She will do weird dances in the carpool line that will mortify you. Let her. Make those memories with her, because before you know it, those days will be gone. Soon you will drive yourself to school and that one-on-one time with her will be a memory. She will annoy you, she will drive you insane. You will yell and scream at each other, but she will go to bed sobbing silently, while you go to bed mad and feeling justified. Never miss the opportunity to apologize, and never turn away the chance to forgive her. She will not always do things the right way, but show her grace- she’s doing the best she knows how to do.
Trust her. Know that if she says no to something, it’s because she is looking out for you, and truly believes she is protecting you. There is nothing in a mother’s heart that wants to hurt her children, so you must intentionally trust that she has a reason for every single thing she does.
You and your brother are literally everything she has. She does not want to spend one single second messing that up. Though you may not always believe it, she appreciates everything you both do to help. When she asks for your help, trust that she must feel overwhelmed. Trust that she is teaching you how to be a better human, for your future self.
Spend time with her. She won’t always be here. You will get busier each year you age, and you will soon find that time with her falls to the wayside. Make it a priority to spend alone time with your family. It matters. Memories with your mom are what you will cling to the older you get, the harder life becomes, and the moment you realize your mom won’t be here forever. So spend the time with her.
More than anything just be kind to her. She will love you, endlessly. But save her the heartache, and just be kind to her.