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Dear Mom on Mother’s Day,
Firstly, every day should be Mother’s Day. I’m not saying this to endear you, or because I think it’s the right thing to say. I say it because every day I have is a day you gave me. If you hadn’t let me grow in your belly, let me tear out of said belly a month earlier than I was supposed to, and leave you with your tiger stripes and cesarean scars, then I wouldn’t have any of my days. Every day is Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Secondly, I’m now a grown man and a single dad, raising a beautiful little girl of my own. She’s 25% you, 50% me, 95% awesome and 5% necessary sass. Without you, there would be no me, there would be no she. There would be no we. Without you, and this lonely day of the year that we celebrate you, I wouldn’t have the distinct pleasure of putting up with that 5% sass and my favorite fishing partner by my side.
I know we’ve fought, I know we’ve screamed at each other, I know life hasn’t always been easy. But for every minute of fighting, there’s been 20 of peace. For every second of fretful screaming, there’s been 30 of loving silence.
When I was 10 I didn’t know what divorce meant, other than that we wouldn’t see Dad as often. When I was 13 and ran away, I wasn’t going anywhere, I just wanted to make sure you’d come after me. And you did. When I was 17 and you let me throw that birthday party, I vomited in your flowerbed because I had so much fun. Then I woke up the next morning with you handing me a glass of orange juice. The scolding came later. Thank you for letting my battle my hangover in silence. Happy Mother’s Day.
When I was 25 you said you thought I was still 20. When I was 29 you said you thought I was still 25. I know it’s hard to see your children grow into adults. My daughter, your granddaughter, is now 3, but she’ll always be my little baby girl. I loathe the day she grows up and wish there was a potion to keep her small. So I can protect her forever, like you always thought you could me.
You were scared when I left for Costa Rica, you were terrified when I left for Colombia, you were worried when I left for Hong Kong. I always said, “I’m not a kid, you don’t have to worry about me.” But you were right to worry; the times I’ve nearly died, I never told you about. I wanted to avoid the scolding of the second morning of being 17. But if my daughter ever told me the stories I haven’t told you, I’m sure I might have a heart attack. So be thankful for my silence.
The same way I’m thankful for your scoldings. For your shouts. For our fights. There’s no one else I can fight with so much, but always find a home with. There’s no one I can scream at, demean, impugn, and still find a place at their table, except you. I’m not a perfect son, though you always say I am. We both know it’s not true. So I’m glad you taught me I don’t have to be perfect to be complete on every day, not just Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. 10-year-old me forgives you for the divorce, 13-year-old me thanks you for finding me miles away on my bike, 17-year-old me appreciates the party, and the orange juice the next morning. 25-year-old me didn’t understand your fear of me traveling. 29-year-old me understands why you thought I was still 25. If I can be as strong as a single father to my one daughter as you were a single mother to my siblings and I, then my daughter will grow into a much stronger, and more intelligent person than I could ever hope to be. Which makes sense, because she’s 25% you.
Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely mother, my daughter’s granddaughter, and to all the other Mom’s out there. Perfect or not.
Your 30-year-old Little Boy