Now that I’m in my early twenties, I often find myself pondering my teenage years.
I usually end up at this thought when I look back at middle and high school: “I was a brat.”
This is closely followed by, “MY POOR MOM.”
I don’t like to dwell on those years because they were brutal for both me and mom. I still loved her as much as I always did, but, gosh dang, I was mean to her.*
*Footnote: I regret everything.
Somewhere along that long and brutal road, I noticed that, whoa, my mom was an actual human being. She has feelings, and fears, and she loves me with a love I can’t even begin to understand. She wasn’t just my mom anymore, she was my friend.
The chores, and expectations, and punishments were out of love and the desire to make me a better human (yes, believe it or not, I silently thank her every time I clean my toilet because she taught me how). Moms, if your kids are teenagers who give you the cold shoulder because you asked them to unload the dishwasher, one day they will call you and tell you thank you. You will then blast “We are the Champions” and everything will feel like a sweet, sweet victory.
But, back to the story…
When I moved out for college, our worlds changed. When we hugged in the Panera parking lot after we finished decorating my dorm room, I didn’t want to let go. I knew I needed her, that I would want to curl up with her on the couch that night and ask her to brush my hair. It crushed me, and I know it turned her world upside down too.
We slowly figured out our new balance, and the past three years have shown me ten-fold how blessed I am to have my mom. She talks me through overwhelmed phone calls, gives me the advice I need at the time I need it, and often gives up a relaxing evening to grocery shop with me. She traveled with me to New York City, and laughed uncontrollably with me as we tried to ride a tandem bike through Central Park. She has supported me in every aspect of my college career, from changing my minor to studying abroad. When I decide to stay the night at home, she falls asleep with me on the couch while we watch recordings of Dateline.
I could go on forever.
Every once in a while, I look over at her while we’re out shopping, or taking a Sunday afternoon nap, and I am hit with an overwhelming feeling of love for her. I am proud of her, that she has her own identity, and that she is who God decided I needed as a mother. I am proud of her heart, and I am proud of her for being who she is fully and unashamedly.
She is warm, and kind, and knows just what to say. She is brave, and strong, and our family’s lighthouse. When I am with her, I am safe. I am loved.
Mom, I know you’re probably bawling your eyes out at this point. How you’re feeling right now, with tears on your cheeks, is how I feel every time I remember how much you love me, and how much I love you. I cannot stress enough how blessed I feel to be your daughter.
You’re my best friend, my encourager, my favorite hug, my leading lady.
I love you more.