You were my first friend; for thirty years you’ve been one of my best friends.
And like best friends; like parents and their children, we will not always agree with each other. We will make each other so angry we could (and have) screamed bloody murder. We will have moments of absolute frustration; more of utter disbelief and those that leave us befuddled as to what in the world the other was thinking. We will continue to share moments of laughter; hopes, dreams, successes and failures. I will continue to celebrate your cancer anniversary because we made it through the living nightmare twice and it marks yet another year you remain the victor in your cancer battle. I will continue to put more thought than money into every gift because you never forget how someone and something makes you feel and sometimes words just aren’t enough. I will continue to support you even though I may not agree with what you’re doing because I love you. I will never make you feel bad for making a choice because it is ultimately your life and you need to make it your own. I will remain a constant in your life because you will always be one in mine.
If ever comes a time in your life that you doubt yourself as a mother, stop. Instead know this: those nights you sat and played endless games of Life and Monopoly; watching movie after movie even though I’m sure you could recite them all verbatim; craft nights and sledding with a large Brownie pack; long morning walks up what I swear is the steepest hill in the city so that I could continue to swim to my hearts content; days spent on a rocky beach because I couldn’t get my fill of the ocean – I may not remember every toy you worked so hard to buy for me, but I remember those days; I loved every one of them.
For even though I was a small child, I was incredibly intuitive of what was going on. When you would try to stretch a dollar here and there; working out a budget so that you could make ends meet on one income. Finally getting to stay at home with me as you wished you had had the chance to do when I was a baby. Never doubt anything you did. Those decisions gave me a childhood that is the very foundation of who I am. The woman who everyone relies on; the woman who is known for always landing on her feet when lord knows life knocks her down; the woman who is annoyingly independent; the woman who will never be materialistic no matter her bank balance; the woman who thrives on living life to experience as much of it for as long as god allows her breath to do so; the woman who gets more excited about a birthday cake than a present; the woman who needs nothing for Christmas, but loved ones, chocolate milk and ham; the woman who will continue to help others without judgement or criticism; the woman who is determined to always get what she wants out of life no matter how hard she has to work; the woman who will always make her own choices regardless if anyone else understands them – because of you.
All of the things you did ‘right’; all of the things you did ‘wrong’, they have all been a part of that very foundation. You will never think anything or anyone is quite good enough for your little girl; that feeling is mutual. But you see, the best things in life aren’t really the best of things. They have no monetary value; they don’t sparkle and shine. They’re simply a product of you choosing to see the best in something or someone. Throughout my childhood there have been some incredible lows; incredible highs and a whole lot of ordinary. But a simple change in perspective made a lot of those lows seem not so terrible; not so scary. They instead taught me that I was solely responsible how my life unfolded. That the circumstances in life didn’t make or break me; my reaction to them did.
So over the course of the last 10-15 years, I’ve taken those lessons to heart. I have struggled; I have been terrified out of my mind; I have been disheartened; I have been hurt; I have been in my best health and worst; I have made decisions you’ve hated, some you loved; I have fallen – but I have ALWAYS gotten back up. So when my doctor looked directly at me with sympathetic, yet concerned eyes on that Friday morning and told me I have become depressed; something snapped. After everything I had experienced in my thirty years, I had finally let myself down. The dam broke. I had reached rock bottom – and no one had any idea. No one was to blame for their ignorance, but me. I didn’t want anyone to know because I had lived my life so self reliant. I kept telling myself I had to snap myself out of it.
These last few months have been some of the hardest of my life. I have spent days inconsolable; feeling more alone than ever before. I had not only let myself down, but have felt like I’ve let several people down. Because of my stress a lot of people have been hurt. But you know about this part. What you didn’t know is the why behind it all. That behind his comments lay a lot of stress and worry for my health and well being. That behind his attitude was frustration and helplessness for not being able to help me. Because he would never get mad at me, his anger, frustration and stress was let out elsewhere.
No one ever asked the why. But his pleas are what got me to the doctor. They’re what got me to face the mess I was in. And things are looking up. I’m more of that woman you raised, the one you were proud of. Know that while you may look at my life and wish for bigger and better things for me, I’m healthly and I’m happy. I can assure you that I love my life just the way it is. This is said with whole heart sincerity. You have given me a rock solid foundation and although I will continue to falter at times and I’m sure to stumble, please know that I have everything I need to get myself through it all. You’ve given me that and it’s worth a million times more than anything any amount of money can buy.
So no matter what happens in this crazy thing we call life, know how incredibly thankful I am for all that you have done for me. Know that as much as you didn’t want your little girl to know how hard it was at times, she did. But it never hurt her, it helped her. It helped her see your strength. It helped her to see that you are truly the best at playing the best and worst of hands. It showed her your resilience and determination.
Never doubt that.
Never doubt, that despite everything, I will want to be the first to know your good news. Never doubt, that despite everything, I will be there for your bad news. Never doubt, that despite it all, I love you.