As a newer mom and with 3 kids under the age of 5, I am constantly bombarded with thoughts of my mother and things that often don't get clarity until you experience them yourselves. A list of a few thank you's to you, my mama.
1. Thank you for always believing in me. I see first hand how not having supportive parents can damage a person. I have always believed if I work hard, I can do or be anything I want. Even through my bitter phase and rediscovering my passions; the hope that when I did decide on the next career move I could do it was always there because of you. Now that I have a goal I don't hesitate to believe in our vision. That is because of you and dad. Realities are there and the risk may be great but that never stopped you from believing in me and it won't stop me from believing in my family, their talent, and dreams.
2. Thank you for the 3 day rule, no more than 3 days between phone calls. When I left at 18 to go live my dream in NYC you created this rule. How hard this must have been for you. When I inevitably got caught up in my life and forgot to call, it must have been torture to wait 3 days before calling and saying "Hey! Did you forget our rule?!?!!?" You must have not only missed me but I'm sure there was a level of I need to know you are ok in that big bad city. How you must have worried constantly for my safety. I am also thankful because it kept me grounded and connected to you and even with the distance we remained close. Our friendship built a foundation for the adult version of me to be even closer to you. And thank you for listening to the endless drama of a young person, with interest and clarity. I also always loved when the three of us would chat, like it was second nature to be on the phone with 2 other people, but it always flowed so easily. I miss those conversations but am thankful you are still on the other end listening.
3. I remember one time (I'm sure there were more but not many) that you let your frustration show. I was about 7 or 8 years old and we were up at Camp Grayling visiting dad and Ted at boot camp. On a potty break, I insisted on going in the tiny stall with you. You called me obnoxious, and I remember being taken aback by it. Mainly because you never said things like this to me and at the time I remember feeling ashamed that I did something wrong. In the next moment though we went about the trip and never spoke of it again. You also were the same mom before you said it as afterwards. What it taught me is that your love is unconditional. That you can be frustrated or annoyed and a minute later back to happy. Moods will change, but love never will. There must be some karma to it because I don't think I've used the restroom alone in 4 years, and it can be frustrating. I get it, I'm sorry :) I don't know how you kept your cool so much of the time, thank you.
4. If I've never said so before thank you for making me a priority in your life and showing me what kind of mother I want to be.
5. Thank you for committing to being my chauffeur all those years and following my dance studio as it bounced around sometimes driving 45 minutes each way. You showed me that dedication is worth the sacrifices it takes to accomplish a dream.
6. Thank you for making me balance your check book. It used to be so upsetting to me because I knew full force what my dancing career was costing you. But it also made me grateful and realize what it took to pursue a passion. I know you didn't do it to make me feel bad, you did it to teach me about money, how to manage it and the value of a budget. I got it and still love doing the books.
7. Thank you for making me clothes and dresses and costumes. I always felt like a princess in your pieces and so incredibly lucky to have such a talented mother. Thank you for all the beautiful things you have made my children. I feel your love in the things you have made and I know that they do too.
8. Thank you for dancing in the Nutcracker with me. I loved being on stage with you and backstage and rehearsals. Some of my favorite childhood memories you were apart of. Plus a shout out to dad for never missing a performance. I think he set the record for number of volunteer ushering hours he put in :)
9. Thank you for being strong enough to let me get in that cab at 18 in NYC and drive away from you and dad for the first time. I looked back through the rear window and saw you in dad's arms. It must have been one of the hardest moments of your life and as excited as I was to start my adventure in the big apple, part of me never wanted to leave you side. I was strong enough to go because you were strong enough to let me.
10. Thank you crying every time you left New York or I left Michigan. It reminded me that I was out there for a purpose. You and dad were my backbone and my strength; to stay as grounded and as focused as I could be. I also learned that strength and tears are not so far apart. You can be strong and still show sadness. I also never doubted how much I was loved.
11. Thank you for carrying me for over 10 months and raising me. You still worry about us first, putting yourself last every time.
12. You cared about nutrition, and sugar intake, and healthy habits before they were trendy. I just wished I would have embraced it more when I was younger.
13. Thank you for never giving me the answers, but gently pointing out all the paths in front of me. Always allowing me to determine the correct road to take. You are my beacon of light and I am a stronger woman because you are my mother.
14. Thank you for not losing your mind hearing Mama!!! 15 times before I would find you in the house every time I needed something; big or small, or just needed to know where you were. As a mama myself now I see how incredibly irritating that is and I scream in my head (and sometimes not in my head) to make it stop.I am not as good as you, but I hope to be someday.
15. Thank you for showing me what strength really is. You have fought this disease as a warrior and I will forever be in awe of you.
16. You wake every day and struggle to accomplish daily tasks that so many take for granted. No matter what is taken from you, you face it head on and as scary as it is you are still protecting all of us before worrying about yourself. You are a caregiver by nature and it is a beautiful part of you.Through it all, you have remained positive and determined to fight. It must be strange to be the one who needs the care, but it's ok. It's our turn. And it's ok to focus on you now, and do what's right for you. We will support and rally around you like you have done for each of us time and again. You are not alone.
17. You are never short of a smile, a wink, a kiss, a hug, and an I love you everyday. It truly is enough. I feel all of your love in those tiny expressions.
18. I am so blessed to be your daughter and have such an amazing role model that I continue to learn from everyday. You are never far from my thoughts, I am constantly asking myself What Would My Mama Do? And I have a feeling I will be asking myself that for a long time to come. Somehow even in a thought you can ground me and guide me in the right direction.
I love you My Mama. Thank you for all this and so much more I don't have words for.