Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dear Mom,

I know that sometimes you feel like you were a bad mother.  I need you to understand something, you were not a perfect mother.  We were not perfect children.  But you were never, never a bad mother.  You made the choice to stay home and raise us and I thank you for your sacrifice.  And it had to be hard, three children who fought constantly, who hated each other, and did it alone for hours on end while Dad worked all the time. 

You were the fun mother.  You made us play-doh from scratch.  You baked cookies and home made meals.  I remember hand knit sweaters and home made clothes.  Until I started dressing myself, I was the best dressed kid in school.  I remember a mother who used to jokingly sit on us when we hid in the couch cushions, and called it "babysitting".  I remember family tickle fights.  A mother who started water fights in the summer, and who cheated once by staking out the faucet under Bill's window.  A mother who liked to have Frisbee parties with the neighbor kids.  A mom who made me laugh so hard my sides hurt.  I remember a woman who taught me to love reading.  A woman who has won every scrabble game we have ever played against each other and who now kills me at words with friends.  You taught me to knit and steal all the socks I make- and I secretly love that you do.  I have always been proud of your sense of humor.  I love to repeat the funny things you have said or done.   

Maybe we point out some of the less impressive moments too often and not mention the fun we had.  I laugh about the dish breaking now, but you never would have broken all those dishes if we had done the one thing you asked us to.  You weren't impatient, we were lazy and spoiled.  Maybe we should be appologizing to you for being terrible kids.  We weren't delinquents, but we never told you how much we appreciated you and now, it may be too late.  We don't tell you we love you enough.  We don't remind you about how good you were to us.    

You never meddle in our lives.  You never pushed us to do things that we didn't want to do.  Never made us try to be something we weren't.  You accepted us for who we were, even when those things made you cringe.  You loved us quietly, without smothering us.  You made two amazing men in my brothers, they have flaws, but they are still so amazing.  And me...well, you can't be to blame for the mess I made of my life, I did that all on my own.

I wish I could make it up to you all the things I did wrong, said wrong or all the times I hurt you.  I can't, there just isn't enough time.  But what I did, I did because I was immature and foolish, not because you weren't a good mother.

I love the fighter you are.  I honor the woman who took care of her mother until the day she died, no matter how hard it was you did everything you could to make her feel comfortable.  And to lose your father so quickly afterward...that you managed to stay in one piece I will forever be amazed that you did.  And five years ago, when you were told you had cancer, I stand in awe at the strength that got you out of bed each day to go to work even though you were going through the worst chemo out there and when you walked away with a new attitude I applaud you.  I know no other women at 61 who would dare to do the things you have done- hiking mountains and white water kayaking.  You faced cancer with humor, grace and strenght last time.  You make me wish I could be just like you.

I need you to be brave again.  I need you to fight.  I need you to try, not for me.  But for you.  I need you to try this one more time because the world would cease to be wonderful without you in it.  I need you to fight because I can not allow you to die without realizing that you are poetry, beautiful music and the pulse in my heart.  I need you to be here when I finally do something to make you proud of me.  I need you to be here because without you I am not me.  And I need you to be strong because I don't think I know how to be.  I need you to show me.

I love you, Susan

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