Happy Birthday Mom! April 26th! It is your special day. And I need to tell you something! And that something is….
Oh boy do I get it now!
With my firstborn about to graduate high school and my baby girl starting high school, I am reminded of how fast time flies and how this magic trick of kids growing up as you blink hits a mother’s heart.
So on this day, April 26th, my own lovely Mother’s birthday, I must say to you….oh boy, Mom do I get it now! And YOU deserve to have a very Happy Birthday!
I get how excited you felt as you waited for the birth of your three children, each and every time and why you labored the way you did…without an epidural…and with the patience of a saint as each one of us came into this world and into your loving arms.
I don’t get, however how you were ABLE to withstand the agony and pain of childbirth all three times without the beloved epidural that was my best friend!
I get how you encouraged me not to take after you and to have the epidural, as you know your own daughter’s pain tolerance level and couldn’t bear to see your girl in agony!
I get how you totally rearranged your schedule 18 years ago to stay one whole month with me and my hubs as we adjusted to being exhausted, overwhelmed and completely over-the-moon-in-love-with-our-newborn new parents.
Thank you for that, by the way!
Then I go back a little deeper in time and remember the times that you begged me my senior year of high school to stay home and spend some time with the family.
I was much too busy to consider that option with all of my senior year commitments, big events, fanfare and excitement leading up to my big graduation day.
All you wanted was a little more time. But I rudely declined back then.
Oh boy, do I get that now. I so understand your simple and heartfelt request.
As I watch my own high school senior son come home briefly each day only to leave minutes later again. Oh how I get that. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and spend a few more of those requested evenings home with you and the family. Sorry Mom.
Darn that 20/20 hindsight!
Oh boy do I get it now how you would stay up painting until the midnight hour to make sure that I arrived home safely. No matter how tired I am, I don’t go to sleep until my own chickens are safely back in the coop!
You didn’t even have cell phones then! I can’t imagine. Thank goodness you had…and still have…your painting. You are such an amazing and talented artist!
Oh boy do I get now how you must have worked so hard to keep your emotions in check as the calendar pages just turned faster and faster until graduation day came and I walked across the stage and then onto an airplane to go to Texas. I don’t remember you ever putting a damper on my special time with your own motherly emotions. I haven’t been as good as you were as I have let mine show to my boy a few times.
But now that he is just three weeks away from his own graduation, I find myself keeping those emotions in check when he is around to allow him to take it all in. To enjoy his special time without seeing his Mother’s daily tears that come and go, quite quickly actually, but regardless, as I walk through this process of letting go.
Oh boy do I get it now…how difficult it must have been when I would snap at you, give you that annoyed leave me alone look, yell at you (I am so sorry now) or just ignore my mama because I was just so busy with my teenage self.
You tell me that I wasn’t as bad as I remember. But I think the process of a mother slowly but surely letting her child go to flee the nest is a bit like labor. And that you forget the pain the teen years can cause (both joyful and painful pain) because the joy you feel for your child’s future is so exciting! This time is filled with such anticipation and pain and with a certain discomfort that helps us to push that child out of the nest, to relieve some of that pain…and to embrace the excitement of the future. Our kid’s future because it is no longer about us when motherhood sets in.
Oh boy do I get it now!
I remember hugging you goodbye as I boarded that plane and then finding myself suddenly surprised with the tears that filled that entire 2 hour plane ride. Suddenly I was missing you so much and the ability to say yes to your request to stay home a little longer was no longer an option.
Oh boy, I started to get it then.
But I had NO idea just how much I would get it upon my child’s 18th year and especially now as we count down the very short three weeks left before he graduates.
So on this birthday of yours, I want to tell you Happy Happy Birthday to my loving and oh so giving Mom, my Mother who I can always count on, regardless of the 2,000 miles between us. My mommy that I think about and appreciate so much more since I became a mommy…so thankful that you were there to witness that miracle of your grandchildrens’ birth both times.
And now during this very emotional time for me and very happy time for my boy, I know and completely understand, that due to unforeseen circumstances, we can’t be together this time around, but I want and need you to know that I am thinking of you so much during this birthday of yours and this bittersweet time of mine.
Thank you for always setting the example of how to both root for your children and to rein them in when needed. Thank you for always extending open and expressive arms while at the same time knowing when to give your children a gentle push forward so that we could grow when needed. So many things to thank you for. And as I think of what gift to give you, I just keep coming back and reflecting on all of the gifts that you have given me.
Thank you Mom.
Happy Birthday Mom.
Oh boy do I get it now, Mom! So give me one more gift… I want you to have a wonderful birthday and a joyful year ahead. You deserve to get back some of all that goodness that you always give. I wish that I could wrap that up and ensure that this next year gives you just that.
So although a physical present is in the mail (of course it is coming late!), know that my gift to you is my heart. The heart that you have taken such good care of. Thank you Mom. Oh boy do I get it now!
Oh and I must also thank you for helping to take care of your Mommy, too, my Grandmother as the years progress. Your role as a mother, grandmother, daughter and wife are gifts to us all. But it is your birthday today, so please give yourself a gift today. Whatever that may be. Something you are wishing for. Do it. Enjoy it. Spoil yourself for one day, Mom.
You deserve it.
Happy Birthday Mom.