I’m trying to remember if I ever wrote you a letter apologizing for the stupid things I did when I lived in your home. Probably not, because I was too busy thinking about myself. I didn’t always make it easy for you to love me, but you did anyway, and I never understood that level of devotion until I had a daughter too.
Now the past seems to be catching up, and if it makes you feel any better, she’s exactly like me. Nothing prepares you for the raising of a child, and becoming a mother myself has prompted me to apologize for some things that happened growing up. So, Mom, I want you to know I’m truly sorry:
For getting so excited that you spent all night organizing my toys, that I had to take out every single one again because they were “like new.”
For ever thinking those little handmade gifts for Mother’s Day weren’t as good as jewelry from a store. I’m realizing now a new necklace pales in comparison to a finger painting by your baby.
For that time you lost it when I refused to get out of the bath tub. And then for making you cry afterwards. Kids are such jerks. And it’s so easy for them to make us see red, despite the fact that they weigh less than 35 pounds.
For letting you constantly accept that one overcooked wing from the almost empty bucket of chicken, because everyone else grabbed all the good pieces. I feel like I should say I’m sorry twice for that one. Hot food is kind of a rare commodity now in my household, because we as mothers always tend to put ourselves last.
For arguing with you about doing chores. You were simply setting me up to be a productive member of society. And I now know how satisfying a frantic 10 minute clean-up can be right before company comes over.
For treating you like you knew nothing about life. That you couldn’t possibly understand what I was feeling after that guy in 9th grade dumped me.
For wanting nothing to do with you while we were out shopping—until it came time for you to pay for my clothes.
For getting drunk in the basement with my friend that one night. Wait, you probably didn't know about that one.
For not returning home at curfew. Did you sit up and think about all the awful things that may have happened to me? Because my daughter isn’t even two yet, and already I have been kept awake nights thinking about those worst case scenarios.
For being annoyed at you when you made me leave my friends’ houses to come home for dinner. Because family dinners are actually really important, aren’t they?
For being mad at you for making me throw out that Playboy shirt I accidentally left for you to find in the laundry. Thank you for taking a stand against the objectification of women—even if you just thought at the time it was extremely inappropriate.
For refusing to wear a coat, or a hat, or mittens from age 11 to 18. I have since amended these habits and you can rest assured my daughter is quite warm. When she becomes a preteen, I will come to you for some deep breathing techniques that you must have had to use.
For all those times I called myself “fat” and “ugly.” Because now that I have a daughter, I realize how heartbreaking those words must have felt to the one person who always saw me as beautiful, inside and out.
For ever thinking there was a limit to your love.
You survived me, and I know I will survive my own daughter. I just ask that when I come to you complaining about all the woes of motherhood, you don’t laugh too hard.