Typing this takes me back to when I first saw a photograph of you looking anything but happy.
Prior to seeing that photo, I had seen plenty more in which you looked happy, confident and unbothered– you clearly weren’t married in those, neither did you have children.
First, thank you for choosing to birth us.
You took quite a hit while at it. I know because I was there. You went through the same horrific experience I did just so I may be here.
The perineal tears and stitches were definitely a sacrifice on your part.
Now back to the photos of you looking sad.
My 28 year old, mom to one self can now decipher what was going on there.
You’d just had me and were obviously dealing with postpartum issues. Your face screamed depression. Not gonna lie. Maybe you had to mask it, because, c’mon, the 90s were tough on mental health issues.
Now looking back, I realize your postpartum depression may have prolonged for the 10 years you were with us. Nobody got it and it’s obviously too late to tell you this, but MOM, I NOW GET IT.
Maybe you didn’t know what to expect as a new mom; or you had your own internal struggles from childhood you had to deal with while raising us.
See, I’m a mom now. Most times I am extremely happy other times? Not so much. I mean, there are times my mind crushes into a deep hole of worry anchored by frustration.
Look, I am not ungrateful for my new life– in fact I am really happy.
I just worry about things like: What would happen to my son if I died? What if I get widowed? What if my son doesn’t turn out to be a good human being? What if we go bankrupt and can’t afford bread? What does my son see when he looks at me? What if there is a war and my son gets separated from me? These kinds of worries often manifest as sadness. My husband hates seeing me sad, so I have learnt to have it under control.
Anyway, I digress.
I remember you having to go through a divorce with 2 children in tow.
It was hard for all of us, yes, but I wonder what was going through your mind. I am sure you felt like a failure but guess what. To us you were all that mattered. I am sure to my son, I am all that matters, even if doubt clouds my judgement. I am sure if my son could understand it all, he’d say: Mom, breath, you’re all that matters.
This is why I am telling you, despite all the miscalculations you made in life; despite every unfair punishment you gave us; despite all the yelling– all we saw was love in your form.
Subsequent to your divorce from our darling father, I remember you stopped going to church and would drink a can of beer quietly by yourself, perhaps in an attempt to drown all your worries. That, I guess, was the genesis of your alcoholism problem. Hey, not judging, but, getting it now.
You had to be our father, mother and nanny, all the while being a career woman, sister, daughter and friend to many.
My little mind never understood why you’d yell at us for not being ‘disciplined enough’. Maybe you were just worried about us growing up to be little shits in society, consequently projecting that internal struggle on us.
I am sure there are many times you wanted to walk out on us.
I know because I have felt that way too. But no mother says it’s over unless it genuinely is over.
I would never walk away from my family just as you never left. Thank you for teaching me to stay. Stay for my family.
So far, motherhood has taught me selflessness. It’s more of a natural instinct now. I put a hold on my career to take care of my son. I have severally put off my diy crafting desires to cater to his needs. And he will never get it until he becomes a parent– just like me.
So mom, for the times you put your career on hold, thank you. For sacrificing your sleep to cuddle us, thank you. For teaching us to read and write, thank you. For teaching me French, thank you. For everything that you were or weren’t, thank you.
For all the yelling, mom, I now get it. For the Saturday nights you went partying, I now get it. For the times you shut yourself in your bedroom, I now get it.
Mom, I now get it. Thank you.