Motherhood. Those ten little letters arranged together to create one of the world’s most profound ideals. It’s the ideal you aspire to live up to, the one you struggle the most to escape, it’s your proudest moment & your biggest mistake.
I spent the first half of my life fighting my mother at every turn. Never taking much of her life into consideration. I was very self focused & hell bent making a mark on this world, good or, as seemed more likely, bad. She was a prime target for much of my teenage angst, yet always the first phone call in times of need. I pushed her away & held her close. What a confusing conundrum.
As a mother I gained some respect & understanding of my mother, and yet, still vowed to never be like her. Although many times repeating some of her greatest qualities.
My mom was a teen mom, before being a teen mom was something that awarded you a reality TV show. She was pregnant & married by the age of 15 & had 2 children by the age of 16. I came along much later & probably had a lot more luxuries than my older siblings.
My mom never graduated high school, but she did graduate from The University of Texas when she was 45. I was in & out of school at the time, getting kicked out regularly, once for bringing vodka to school in 7th grade, so I spent a lot of time at UT with her. Those were some of my favorite memories.
Looking back there were so many things that I took for granted when I was growing up. My mom loves tradition around holidays & always makes sure we adhere to said traditions. She loved to take roadtrips, driving & always stopping at every historic landmark & cemetery. She is an artist & my life has been plastered in vibrant blues, rich reds & blinding yellows. She has never been afraid to share her struggles or listen to yours. She is am adventurer. I get that from her & my son gets that from me. I love & admire these qualities now, but rolled my eyes in disdain at them then.
When I was 18, I became a mom. It was & still is, one of my most cherished badges. My first born changed me in a way I could’ve never imagined. The classes, books & infomercials prepare you for the diaper changes, scraped knees & failing grades. What they do not prepare you for is the way your heart is forever marred, damaged & broken. You are not prepared for a life of pride in something you feel such great responsibility for yet can hardly take credit for. All of a sudden you hear your mother’s voice echoing in your speech. A new love, empathy & regard forms for her.
Before I had children I loved my mom for the things she gave me; life, shelter, love, food. After my children were born I loved her for the things she taught me; how to live, work ethic, a heart for others & how to cook.
During my active addiction I all but destroyed my mother. Sleepless nights wondering if I was alive, calls from jail where she would leave me because at least I was safe there, the people I dragged home, the trips to the hospital, the lies I told & money I stole. I used & abused her & she still answered my calls.
Sitting at breakfast this morning laughing with her & my oldest son I realized what a miracle it is to be staring into the face of God. This is the Love that is woven into the testaments. This is the forgetful Love in the letters. This is where we learn to Love as God Loves us. Alive, breathing, palatable.
Motherhood. Those 10 little letters. Peppered with the deepest love, the hardest truths & the most sleepless nights.
Thank you mom. I love you.