Open Letter to My Mother For Mother's Day (WARNING: sensitive subject)

Dear Mom:

Today is Mother’s Day and I find myself filled with nostalgia.  This afternoon, as our family sat around you I stared at you thinking how beautiful you looked.  I studied your face searching for pieces of my own.  I wondered when I am your age will my skin be as flawless?  Will I smile with my eyes the way that you do?  Will a table of my own children, grandchildren, and a husband lean in to hear my thoughts and confer with each other to make sure I am okay?  I know we are not perfect, but we love you.

I am grateful for your life.  

I am grateful for our time together even though I can often be distant --- it’s not you --- it’s me.  I am an inward person who puts out a massive amount of energy in ministry and lately school; therefore, with my limited free time I tend to want to recharge by being alone.  I know this distance hurts you and I am sorry.  

As I sat across from you this evening I thought of our timeline.  I was the daughter who you ordered beautiful custom made dresses.  Rather, my sister was the one to prefer that kind of kindness.  You always wanted your daughters with you.  Yet, it must have been hurtful when all I wanted to do was wear my old E.T. sweatsuit and stay home to watch “I Love Lucy” with Pop.  You always made sure your children had the best even when you went without.  You were fearless in your defense of us. I dared any teacher to give me a difficult time because like a superhero you would show up and change the atmosphere.  No one was going to mistreat, discriminate, or ridicule your child. Not happening. Not today.    

My teen years were difficult.  Not because I was rebellious (let me be honest, I still lined my stuffed animals on my bed at 16 and my curfew was at 8:59pm), but I saw you as “old school” and assumed you would not understand.  I was a quiet and stubborn kid who always wanted to blaze my own trail.  I remained out of trouble and you succeeded in sheltering me in the safety of private schools and suburban neighborhoods. I excelled in school and for all intents and purposes I was a good kid.  For my sweet sixteen (Pop said “No”) but you rented a convertible for me and paid for my friends and I to spend the day at Magic Mountain.  I will never forget that day!

My young adult years were hard while I was far away at school.  There was nothing you could have done differently!  Life is just crazy at times….I hardly recognized myself during that period.  Nevertheless, young adult years are much about self-discovery.  When I called to tell you I had gone through with an abortion I braced for the worst.  I assumed my Jesus-loving conservative mother would disconnect from me the way that a line goes dead following an unexpected drop. Leaving me to wonder what had happened and if you had heard anything I said.

Instead, you proved to be everything you had been to me my whole life --- my superhero.  My Jesus-loving conservative mother loved me with a deep unashamed love that could go toe-to-toe with the greatest love stories.  You listened to my pain as I relayed the story of self-proclaimed Christian protesters calling me a “Baby Killer” and that “I would be judged” one day.  You listened, when I shared that the people at the clinic never really helped me to plan anything.  You cried with me when I told you I woke up, my face wet with tears, on a gurney next to many other young women with similar stories --- this was the process of abortion and you loved me through it.

Mom, the gift of grace you gave me that day when I told you my story was you living out the image of God you are fashioned in.  As good mothers do --- you put me first.  Your concern was to love me, protect me, help me to mend, and guide me back onto a path with my faith --- a relationship I desperately needed and longed for.  Mom, you are an exquisite strength that I cannot comprehend.  

Yes, we argue. We butt heads. We often disagree.  You drive me crazy always having to be right (I see where I get it from :-).  I am a risk taker and you would prefer me to remain safe.  You believe in tradition and I am a total unconventional progressive.  We are similar, in that we are both sensitive, and we both love hard without condition.  Thank you, Mom.  You are a gift to me.  I am finally mature enough to even appreciate our disagreements.  

Thank you for loving me for all of my life.  I will love you for all of yours and beyond.  I celebrate you today and I know how blessed I am to have you alive and present that I can tell you so.  Mother’s day can be tough for women who desire children but for one reason or another life has not worked out that way.  Regardless, you make Mother’s Day worth celebrating and I pray, if given the opportunity, I will love my future family the way you have taught me.

¡Feliz Dia de La Madre, Mama! Reina de Panamá y reina de nuestros corazones.

Love you, Mami.

La Niña