To Mom, on Mother's Day

Was it really like this?

Was it really like this?

Your life wasn't easy, Mom. Like most people at 24, you just weren't equipped to take on 3 babies by yourself. And instead of inspiring confidence and self worth, your own mother let you know every day that you weren't worthy, that you were somehow lacking, and that you needed a man in your life in order to survive. The qualifications for these men to be your husband and our step fathers were minimal. They just had to be breathing—never mind that faint smell of booze on their breath, or their anger issues, or their mommy issues. None of that mattered, because as long they showed up and were willing, they were vetted by grandma. More often than not, our little nuclear families often blew up in a mushroom cloud of anger and sadness, and when the dust settled, grandma would still be at her house crocheting or baking cookies or whatever, while you, Mom, were left to pick up the pieces of another shattered relationship. Of course, grandma would let you know that it was all your fault, but never fear! There was always another man just around the corner to make you whole.

And I know, Mom, that your childhood was pretty dark. Things happened to you that, in those days, just weren't talked about. I know that you were a scared little girl, and those people that were supposed to protect you and build you up instead tore you down and damaged you. I also know that the one ray of light in your life, the one person who would protect you and love you at all costs, my father, was cruelly taken from you before any of those childhood traumas could be banished to a place where they didn't hurt you anymore.

If I could talk to you one more time, Mom, I would tell you that I love you. Completely, and unconditionally. Were you always there to protect us? No. Did you wear a little apron and put PB&J's in our Snoopy lunch pails and have snacks ready after school and dinner on the table promptly at 6? Of course not. June Cleaver you were not. Then again, we weren't the Brady kids, either. Real life is messy, even more so when you don't have all the tools to deal with it. Then again, who does? What dark secrets seethed behind June Cleaver's perfect mask of domestic bliss?

I'm an adult now, I have been for quite awhile, so I know how hard all this adult stuff can be. I have made some dumb decisions in my life. I have hurt people, and I have been hurt. I have been angry, and sad, and frightened. I have been in dark places where it seemed no light would ever reach me again. So I see you, Mom, from a perspective I never had as a child. I see your strength. I see your perseverance, against all odds. I see your undying love for me, and for my brothers and sisters.

I see you, Mom.

I love you, Mom.

Always.

Happy Mother's Day.