An almost-grown daughter’s response to “To My Almost Grown Daughter, I’m Sorry and I Love You“
To my mother, thank you and I’m sorry.
It’s a Friday night and on this rare occasion, you are going out for a night with friends. A much-deserved event, spending time as you — not a mom, not a wife, not in charge or liable — just you. The same you that stole your mom’s car to skip out on lunch in high school with Tori. The same you who ran track like a boss, danced like a queen, and mothers like a hero.
It’s 7 p.m. and I watch from your bed as you put on makeup. Only a little — again, it’s just for you. And I touch your sparkling jewelry with the reverent awe of a museum goer, smell your perfume like I touch petals of roses, with pure, unwavering love. And we chat like friends, laughing as the sun goes dim and your eyes dance with the flicker of young possibility I don’t recognize in you. A part of you I only know through pictures and stories from grandma, told over cups of sweet summer tea. In moments like these, I meet the you who I will one day, maybe today, look like. The you who met dad when he was just Cory. And these pieces of you that used to be, shattered the day you met me.
I’m sorry. And I’m so fucking grateful. Because the echoes of you breathe life into me. They furnish your soul with the tapestries of your past, the you that you let go of for me. And while they left or changed, they still remain. They live in me. How could I become a person without you? The you who I ushered into motherhood. The you I made exhausted with nights of infant cries or late returns home. The you who I can only hope to become.
I’m sorry I made you grow worry lines and weathered your wallet. I’m sorry I changed you, changed your story. And yet, for all the pieces of you that may have changed for me, I find in the mirror.
Thank you mom, for my green-blue eyes and bold voice. I may never have know the little Loren that stomped over to the neighbors, demanding to ice skate. But I got to be some version of her. Because of you.
I will never meet the Loren who backpacked through France by the seat of her pants. But I get to be the daughter of that rebel. I get to be the life that yours made possible. I’m sorry my arrival, the first of three, determined the type of mom you would be. Not the mom you dreamt up or swore to be. But the mom I made you.
I’m sorry I changed all your plans. But God, am I glad I did. Because where you thought you would grow organic tomatoes, you grew bubbling laughter with bunnies in flower boxes. Where you thought your lazy days in bed may have negatively impacted me, they actually taught me the importance of rainy days in bed, allowing yourself to sleep and breathe and recharge. You taught me some days need to be slow and silly, spent deeply cradled. Sometimes we need a break.
For all the days you wish you’d been different, I rejoice for how they were. Because it was there, in the cicada summers and freezing falls — in the faults, frets and failures — that you made me me.
Because when I go out on Friday nights and look in the mirror, I feel like the woman I watched with adoration and awe from bed when I was a little girl. I feel like you….