Recently while doing some spring cleaning, I came across a letter my mother had written me, in 2003, when Bailey was 2. She was very ill at the time and knew she wouldn’t be with us long. She held on longer than most would have, and passed in 2005. I was pregnant with my son at the time and it was a very painful experience. I have started reading the letter, she left me many times, usually ending up in tears. So I would always tuck it back in my night stand for “another time.” Well, after reading it again in it’s entirety this week it made me reflect on myself as a wife and a mother. My mom was a patient woman. Very kind and mostly soft spoken, but extremely strong. She had the kind of strength we don’t run across much anymore. (We seem to be the generation of comforts and complaints.) So, in honor of Mother’s Day and my reflective spirit, I wanted to write her back.
You are the delightful one. You have been the nurturing, consistent and loving force in my life always. Even now, since you’ve been gone, you have touched my life so much. I’m embarrassed to say that I never fully appreciated you until Bailey was born, and that was just way too late. Your love had, and has been, a warm place for me to lay my head always. Even though I don’t have your lap anymore, I still sometimes lay in my bed and talk to you when I’m stuck or confused. I know that for a fair skin little Irish/ Norweigen girl from Minnesota it could not have been easy raising two black daughters. Although, honestly, you never even skipped a beat or made it an issue in our lives. We knew nothing else other than two loving parents who loved us and each other. Looking back now and having my own children I realize that there must have been things that came up but nothing that ever seemed to rattle you or our household. You made us believe early on how beautiful, strong and smart we were without doubt or exception. With my own daughter getting ready for the teenage years I know what grief I must have put you through and for that I am sorry. I wish I had shown you the kind of love you showed me everyday and not have taken those moments for granted. I was always so proud of how you carried yourself and how pretty and smart you were, but I didn’t know how to express it. If we were only given a map of our lives it would be so much easier. What your passing has taught me is that tomorrow is not promised and with my own children I want to spend all the time we have together, loving them and teaching them how to be themselves all the while having compassion and values. Mom, thank you for preparing me for my loving partner, lovely children and my wonderful, although, at times challenging, life. You taught me that I am worth being loved, “don’t settle,” and that I can do whatever I set my mind to. Raising a confident, loving strong woman is no easy task. I am going through my own journey with my daughter now, but I realize it can be done because you raised two.