“The measure of love is to love without measure.” – Francis de Sales
To My Mom,
Now that I’ve been doing this whole motherhood gig for 5 years, there is one statement that I’ve learned that we all want to hear as moms: You’re doing a good job.
You, in your infinite wisdom, of course already know this simple truth.
Case in point, the last time I came to visit you with the kids.
At the end of the visit, Peyton was clinging to me, not at all wanting to let me pack. Her whining was amplified by Parker’s whines to play with silly putty. I was tired and grumpy about having to make a drive back to San Diego.
I asked Parker to go downstairs to put his socks and shoes on, not once, not twice, but three times before I lost it and yelled at him. It was a chaotic hour and a half gathering all of our stuff that the kids and I had managed to scatter in every room of the house over the course of 48 hours.
Once the kids were strapped into the car, I turned to you and Dad feeling as though I’d just been through war and barely came out alive.
My shoulders felt heavy and I said, “I love them so much, but sometimes they just drive me crazy.”
You looked at me Mom and without skipping a beat said, “You are doing a good job. This age is really tough. You are doing a good job.”
I felt the tears well up and quickly threw on my sunglasses.
Mom, you have this uncanny ability to know exactly what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it.
This post is my way of telling you the same thing: You are doing, and have always done, more than a good job at motherhood.
My earliest, fondest memories with you are falling asleep nestled up to your arm on the couch while you watched Dallas or Knots Landing.
You didn’t rush me to bed, Mom. You let me fall asleep next to my favorite person in the world.
I have happy memories of countless family gatherings, holidays and celebrations that wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t host them. I can picture you with perfect makeup and your apron on, bustling around the kitchen, working away to make dinner for 30+ people happen.
It didn’t go unnoticed, Mom, and you are the reason that 30+ people have similar happy memories.
Your level of selflessness is simply something that I will never live up to.
I’m afraid to know the number of hours of your life that you sacrificed to support my dance hobby. I can’t remember you once ever missing a show.
Even after I stopped dancing as an adult, you poured hours and hours of your time into creating an incredibly beautiful scrapbook full of mementos you kept from my experience in dance over the years.
This made me realize that you cherish the memories of my time in dance just as much as I do, and that blows me away.
You taught me kindness, above all, and not just in the way you exemplified it in your everyday life.
Do you remember when Laurie moved in down the street the summer before my 6th grade year?
I knew she was labeled as the outcast in elementary school. Her shocking red hair, loud voice, and all-around awkwardness made her stand out in a crowd and also made her an easy target for the kids at school.
When I started 6th grade and Laurie ended up in one of my classes, she was eager to tell others that I had played with her that summer. The kids immediately teased me, and out of embarrassment, I completely denied her story.
That night, Laurie’s mom called you.
I was lying in bed when you came in. “You know better than this, Kristen. I’ve raised you to treat everyone with kindness.” I felt so ashamed because I did know better. Kindness above all. You shaped this in me, Mom.
Before I realized that I need to consciously choose love over fear, you already showed me what that looks like.
Remember when we boarded the plane together to Colorado for the summer dance program I attended? I knew you were nervous about flying, but I didn’t know how nervous until I saw the tears rolling down your cheeks and watched you grip the armrest for dear life during takeoff.
But you still went anyways. You showed me that fear doesn’t have to hold you back.
Now that I’m older and a mom myself, I still need you more than ever. You’re still my personal shoulder to cry on, guidance counselor, cheerleader and therapist rolled into one.
I know that no one is perfect, Mom, but I feel like I would be selling you short if I didn’t describe you as the perfect mom for me.
I do, however, have one memory that stands out to me as a moment when you were wrong.
We were looking through family photo albums and you said to me, “I’ve always been surrounded by beauty my entire life. There’s you, and my mother, and my sister, but beauty just skipped right over me.”
Mom, that is the saddest thing you have ever said. It’s not sad to me that this is your humble view of yourself. It’s sad to me because it couldn’t be further from the truth. You are the most beautiful person, inside and out, that I have ever known.
I started a blog to look for lessons to learn in life, but you already laid the foundation for the most important lesson of all: the power of unconditional love.
If I could make one wish for my life as a mom and for all the fellow moms that are reading this, I would wish that our children felt as loved, accepted and supported as you have always made me feel. Ladies, if we are able to make that happen, then we are surely doing a good job.
Mom, I’m going to leave you with some of the phrases I often heard growing up, because they also apply to you.
You’re the best in the West.
You’re the light of my life.
You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.
I love you so much my heart could burst.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.