Happy Birthday, Mom.
Despite your strength and beauty, you've always been the lady who -- I know, I know -- doesn't want the spotlight...or to have your picture plastered here for all the world to see and share.
So, I'm not "outing" you.
No names. No photos.
Mom, I know this post may embarrass you. And for that, I am truly sorry. But I'll roll the dice anyway, in the hopes that, by the time you reach the end, you'll forgive me.
Because I love you, Mom.
And I sorta want the world to know.
I don't tell you as often as I should just how much I love you.
And admire you.
And look up to you.
And appreciate you.
This job of momming? It sure isn't an easy one. I get it.
And the more time I spend camped out here in the land of middle-age, the more aware I am of how many have either lost a mom, miss a mom, or never had the gift of a solid relationship with one.
But I know I got lucky.
You've always been the one I've wanted to make proud.
You've always been the one who isn't going anywhere -- even when I'm the jerk, still figuring things out.
You've always been the one who's shown me how to hold my head up high, and to push through every single challenge. Thank you.
Earlier this week, I spent time with my own kids, watching home movies made when they were babies.
And there you were, fussing, fussing, fussing over all of us, in that beautiful, fussible way you've always had.
As I watched these video clips of my young children, I also watched you.
My perspective anew.
As I held my own babies, there you were.
As I guided them through your living room -- through their first Easter Egg Hunts -- there you were.
And as I drove up to your house -- with all my joys, my sorrows, my questions and my news -- there you were. Always.
I admit now that I haven't always seen you.
Or acknowledged you.
Or been there for you.
And for that I am sorry.
Because while I know you'll say those things aren't my "job", I still want you to know that I do see you.
That I am grateful for your presence in my life.
And that I'd like to be here for whatever you need.
At times during this amazing and complex life, I've yearned for someone who knows my shorthand, who understands everything, and who's able to fix things when it all feels too much. Let's call that the "I Want My Mommy" syndrome, shall we? Sad, true, and totally unrealistic.
But it was you who told me, time and again, that no one can possibly understand everything.
It was you who encouraged me to just keep going, even when I was 100% certain I could not.
And it's been you who believes in all that I do... no matter if you are there or not.
Recently, as I tried to make heads or tails of situation without a solution, you listened and did what you have always done: you tried to make things better.
And because the circumstances were what they were, it became clear to us both that a remedy was not possible.
We had not faced this sort of challenge before, and I know it shook us both to our bones.
Finding our way through the clutter and confusion tested our relationship to its very foundation.
I knew you could not fix things, and yet I pulled away when you tried.
Why did I have to do that?
But, just like watching those old home movies, it took me some time to gain perspective, to see all that I couldn't during the initial go-around.
And what I finally see now is what I've always seen:
A mom who's been here all along.
A mom who never gives up.
And a mom who knows my shorthand, even in the silence.
I am so grateful to you, Mom.
You mean the world to me, and I love you.
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