I know everyone and their mother seems to have something to say on Mother's Day. Why should I be any different? This one may not be what you think. As always, this is from the heart. Oh, and I already sent this to my mom.
For and To: My Mother
I want to send a card every year to you, mom. I don’t, because you let me be who I was; and that person doesn’t really pay attention to time. I forget, because you let me think the way I do; and while I can remember all sorts of dates in history, birthdays and holidays for me are usually just another day – even my own birthday. So I don’t send a card to you each year for Mother’s Day, because I don’t honestly think about those kinds of things.
I don’t even call or write as much as I’d like, because time just slips away while I am busy looking at the world in the wide-eyed wonder of a child, even past the age of fifty. Like a child in wonder, awe and amazement at a world so full of interesting, new and strange things! A world full of the everyday things that, when looked at from my eyes, always seem to show me something new and different, or teach me something else I don’t know.
I never lost that, because you let me keep it. You loved it and you loved me just the way I was and am. You were always there for me to talk to, to comfort me when I was scared, hurt or lonely. And you were honest with me. I know you didn’t want children, and I know you had them way too early. Even so, I also know that you dearly love all your children, including me.
I think about you and your influence on me almost every day. No matter how long it’s been since we talked, I can still clearly hear the sound of your voice in my head when I imagine what you might say about whatever it was that I was doing, seeing or talking about. You inspired me to read, nearly always sitting, either at the dinner table or the couch, a lit cigarette burning nearly to nothing, while you read Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, Robert Ludlum or Agatha Christie whenever you had the chance.
I think you always knew that I was different from the rest of your kids. I think I talked to you, person to person, more than the other four of my siblings combined by the time I was ten. I think, sometimes, you were very glad to be able to spend the time talking about the wide range of things we did.
I live so far away from you that visits are pretty much out of the question. I think, of all the things I miss, it is the ability to come by and just sit and talk – be with you and be in your company. You were the one person that never told me that I talked too much, or that I was a very strange person for having the ideas I did. You encouraged me and accepted the ideas as things to discuss.
So, today, the man I am is, in large part, thanks to you. I know you’re proud of me, even if I don’t call, or write nearly as much as I know we both would like. I may not be the successful astronaut or paleontologist, or mad scientist I was going to be at different times in my childhood, but I am pretty happy with my life, such as it is.
I still strive to have better, to be more successful than I have so far and to earn my way in this world. I have been kicked down, hit in the face and had the door slammed on me more times than I can count in the business of earning my way and it has hurt deeply at times. Even so, again, thanks to you for showing me patience and determination, I press forward, convinced that no matter how often I don’t succeed, failure can only happen when I quit or give up. In the end, my most important task, though, is to strive to be a better person.
You knew I was a small kid and I was going to be a small sized person. You told me and taught me that size didn’t really matter. There’s always a way to come out if you use your head. Well I learned that one might not be completely true, but it matters just as much how you deal with failure, loss and adversity as it is how you deal with success. So I became a tough little sucker, but not one to just go out and start trouble or be mean to other kids.
The one thing I was always interested in doing, though, I have done, Mom. I am a writer. It is incredible irony that, as a writer, I don’t write as often to you as I should or even would like. I don’t make money at it, mom, yet. It is what I do and it is part and parcel of who I am and wish to be.
All this life up to now, has been shaped and formed by the way you taught me as a child about love, compassion, understanding, accepting and allowing others to be who they are without condition. You taught me that there are times when it’s alright to be angry, when you should be angry – and yet how to channel that anger into being brave enough to stand up for yourself, not just shout and scream. You showed me that it’s okay to cry when you’re hurt and there’s no shame in it to cry when your heart is broken, even if you’re a guy. Most importantly, though, you taught me that sooner or later, you have to get back up, dust yourself off and get back in the game of life.
Mom, it’s all this and more I think about when I think about you. Half the time I wrote this, I was holding back my tears of love and my sorrow at how much more I could do to show you how much you mean to me. There are so many more things I wish I could express, but the fight for my thoughts is great, for there just is SO MUCH and so many things I wish to express to you.
I realize now, looking back at my childhood, how much stress and grief I must have caused you. I wasn’t a bad or even a mischievous kid. I was just way too curious and unconcerned for my own personal safety more often than not. I try to imagine all the things you knew about and then, if I actually told you some of the other things that had happened that, at the time, made me think I might die today, that you don’t know about – well, I think that would have shaved another decade of life off of you had you known.
Even though I didn’t mean to cause you to worry, I did and I’m not sorry for being me and doing those things; I’m sorry that I caused you so much worry needlessly out of my lack of wisdom. On the plus side, mom, I have a lot of great stories to tell that, now, are both amazingly thrilling and oftentimes funny. I’d tell you, “Hey, Mom, don’t worry, I’ll be okay,” but you and I know that you’re going to worry anyway. So instead, just be sure to worry just the right amount. As long as I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing, I know that it’s because you were the one person in my life that meant all the difference in me becoming the strange, curious and ever talkative guy you’re bound to meet.
If it weren’t for your support and allowance of me just as I was, I would be a very different person today. I might be richer, I might be poorer, or I might be a criminal versus one more kind person out in the world just doing his best to make the world a better place, one idea at a time. If it weren’t for you, Mom, I am sure I wouldn’t be nearly as happy with who I am and how I feel about life today.
I’m putting this up, Mom, to a more public venue. This is my way of telling the world how much I love and appreciate you for all you have done. No matter how little I call or write, you are always with me and I can always hear your voice. I love you, Mom.
Your Loving Son,