It’s been 365 days since I have thanked you last for being my mom. That is, if I remembered to send a card last year. I hope I did. I might not have.
It’s been over a decade since we have lived in the same house, since you’ve washed my laundry and cooked me dinner. It’s been years since I have made you breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day, a tray of orange juice and Cheerios spilling over the side of a bowl. In the years before I left I started sleeping in well past the time you were up and unloading the dishwasher, and I no longer had school grown marigolds and hand painted picture frames to proudly give to you. Those were the years you were doing the heaviest lifting of motherhood, and the times I understood who you were the least.
I don’t live with you any more, but I still owe you my thanks. For answering my last minute baking questions that Google can’t solve. For listening me to complain about my baby who won’t sleep through the night. For face timing with my children when they are bored and restless waiting for Daddy to come home. They tak about you a lot. Thank you for the birthday presents and the visits, and for understanding when I moved far away. Thank you for loving my husband and for the prayers you send our way.
And thank you for all of those things I forgot to thank you for years ago. For the sleepless nights, for the homework help, for the braces, for the prom dresses. Thank you for singing me lullabies and reading me stories. Thank you for putting up with my eye rolling and back talking. I promise it was never personal.
When my son was born, someone gave us the book, “Guess How Much I Love You,” the story of a little rabbit who loves the big rabbit to the moon, and a big rabbit who loves the little one to the moon and back. “I hate this book,” I complained to my husband. “The big rabbit is always trying to one-up the little one. How loving is that?”
“But it’s true, isn’t it? We will always love our son more than he loves us,” he replied.
He was right, I’ve come to realize. Motherhood is a losing bargain. It is a self sacrificing unconditional love that is repaid with a tray of spilled Cheerios and a card I don’t remember to send every year.
And it is wonderful.
Thank you, for teaching me that.