A letter to my mother on her birthday

Originally posted at http://fourunder4plustwo.blogspot.com

To my dearest mother on her 67th birthday.

Our relationship has never been an easy one; we rarely see eye to eye, and often rub each other the wrong way. There's a lot I don't understand about you, about the way you see and do things. But here are some of the things I do know.

You have always supported me in everything I've done. Whether the money was there or not, if it was in my best interest, you found a way to make it happen. Without fail. You have always encouraged me to follow my dreams, to believe in myself. When I doubt myself- as a mother, a wife, or as a person, you are there to believe in me and to keep me on track. 

You give of yourself constantly, in your own quiet way, never seeking recognition. But your generosity of self, of spirit are appreciated more than you could ever know. My children trust you as they would trust their own parents. That type of bond is not something that can be forged intentionally, and it is rare. I know that it comes from a deep love, and that is the greatest gift of all. Though they don't understand at their tender age just how fortunate they are to have such a close relationship with a grandparent, let alone a grandparent as wonderful as you are to them, they will one day. I will be sure to remind them.

I've always felt both very close and very distant with you, a relationship that has confused me for as long as I can remember. And I never understood it until I had a daughter of my own who, I'm told, takes after me quite a bit. She has many of my qualities, both the difficult and the enviable, and as her mother I understand that the best I can do is encourage and love her and not try to have her conform to any preconceived notion of what a daughter 'ought' to be like but rather accept her as she is. Sometimes (who am I kidding- it's most days) it's incredibly challenging to be the kind of parent she needs, and I have gained new-found respect you through parenting More.

What amazes me is that you parented nine children. And survived. The stamina it must have taken to raise nine challenging children (because let's face it, we are ALL challenging in our own ways-even the quiet ones) both astounds and terrifies me. I have nothing but admiration and love for you. I have days when I'm not the parent I want to be, as I'm sure you did as well, but I hope that my children will remember most the greater picture, the underlying current of love and support with which I try to provide them. I know that that's what has stayed with me most from my childhood.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for all that you do- as mother to myself, mother-in-law to Ian, and as Grand-Maman to Intense, More, Gentle Giant and my youngest. Happy Birthday!


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