An Open Letter to My Mom

An Open Letter to My Mom | Twin Cities Moms Blog

Dear Mom,

I know that my late teen and early adult years were not the highlight of our mother-daughter relationship. So many pages in my early journals are filled with my feelings over our disagreements, promises to my future children that I would never do things the way you did and my guesses as to why you placed so many limits on me.  

As I’ve grown older and find myself deeper into motherhood, there’s so much I’ve come to realize that you were right about. I’m also starting to understand where many of those limits were born and why you set them in place. Coming to these realizations has been so humbling. I don’t think I truly knew the meaning of that word until now.  

When I was younger, I thought I was so smart. That I knew it all. I remember hearing you say countless times, “You just wait until you have kids. You’ll see what I mean.” And I remember rolling my eyes and shaking my head every single time I heard it. Oh, Mom. If only I’d known then how right you were. Now that I’m a mom to three children, I can honestly say that I’m starting to get it. I finally see what you meant. The younger me would’ve never made this admission to you. My pride would not have allowed it. Now that I’m older and wiser and my appreciation for you has soared to heights I never imagined, it’s on my heart to share this with you so you can sit back and enjoy knowing that you were right.  

There are times that I resented being the oldest child and having to shoulder more family responsibilities after you and dad divorced. While other kids my age were playing sports, hanging out at the mall or having sleepovers, I spent my after school and weekend hours babysitting my siblings, helping cook dinner, cleaning up the house or helping out at your extra job. Thank you for making sure that we always had a warm home, food on the table, clothes that fit and enough money in our pockets for a movie or a new lipgloss.   

Looking back at those days, I realize now that I was lucky to learn so many life lessons so early on.  

You ended a toxic and abusive marriage. And so I learned to value myself and not accept anything less than respect, love and honesty from a partner. 

You trusted me to handle many of the day to day tasks of leading a family. And so I learned independence and the value of hard work. 

You counted on me to do more than my share. And so I learned I am capable and that it’s important to ask for help when you need it. 

You asked me to stay up late, after my sisters went to bed, to paint and craft with you. And so I learned how to create a little holiday magic and bring unexpected joy to someone else. We got crafty together before it was trendy and hip. Now, every single time I pick up a paintbrush, color with my boys or rearrange our family photos, I think of you. I also can’t drive past a Michael’s without thinking of you. 

An Open Letter to My Mom | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Leah Fontaine}

You went on to love again and chose an amazing man who accepted all of us because his love for you was so big. And so I learned that it’s far better to wait for the right partner than settle for someone who isn’t.  

You put our needs ahead of your own. And so I learned that being a mother comes with sacrifice. I saw you put yourself second so many times and in so many ways. And I’ve seen the toll that some of those difficult choices have taken on you. Because of you, I’ve learned that for me to be the best mom to my boys, I have to make sure that I fill up my own tank every now and then too.  

There are so many things about you that make me grateful that God chose you to be my mom. You are a much stronger person than you ever have given yourself credit for. You are always there when I need to talk. You strive to do the right thing. You are an amazing NaNi to our boys. You show your love in sweet and thoughtful ways. You have good instincts in figuring out what someone needs.  

Remember me almost seven years ago as a first time mom on the brink of freaking out because my baby would only breastfeed?

You were there for me as I was mentally and emotionally getting ready to return to work from my first maternity leave. I was so stressed out and afraid of how it would go because Hunter absolutely refused every single bottle offered to him. You were the one who kept calm and reassured me that he would indeed learn to drink from a bottle. You were the one who kept trying with me every single day for a couple of weeks. You were the one who suggested trying the Playtex drop in bottles because they had a brown nipple. And remember what happened? He took to that bottle like a champ. Who knew he wanted something that looked a bit more like a real one? You did. And that’s because you’ve got some pretty amazing mothering skills.  

Someday, if I’m lucky enough, I’ll be around to help guide and support my future daughters-in-law as they become mothers to my future grand-babies. And when that day comes, Mom, I will still be thanking you.  

I love you, Mom.  

Love Always, 
Your Oldest and Formerly Know-It-All Daughter, Jamie 

An Open Letter to My Mom | Twin Cities Moms Blog

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