A Letter To You

Thank you mom

A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take. ~ Cardinal Mermillod. Photo by Dario Valenzuela on Unsplash.

“Eat your vegetables.”

“Do your homework.”

“You need to study, or you won’t get into a good college. If you don’t get into a good college, you won’t get a good job. If you don’t get a good job, you won’t be able to pay your bills. You won’t be successful.”

Growing up I felt suffocated and under the pressure of trying to not be a disappointment. I wanted nothing more than to make you proud and be the successful woman you tried so hard to raise me to be. I hated the thought of letting you down and when I focused so hard on not letting you down, that’s when I let you down the most.

Like any child, I never appreciated the little things you did for me. Clothing me. Feeding me. Putting a roof over my head. Loving me regardless of if I disappointed you. Yelling at me when I did stupid things because you could see the true potential that I held. Keeping a roof over my head. Wiping away my tears at my lowest moments.

I was ungrateful. I fought with you during my melodramatic teenage moments. I told you I hated you more times than I can count, all because you didn’t like a guy I was dating. By the way, you were right about him. He wasn’t good enough for me. You could see that from the very beginning, even when I was too blind.

I hated you for having my phone shut off at 9 pm; you said it was because you didn’t want me staying up late talking to my friends. You wanted me to sleep early so I wouldn’t be too tired for school in the morning. You forced me to stay in on Friday nights to babysit my little sister while you worked. I hated you for taking away my Friday nights. I hated you for providing me with that kind of responsibility. I felt like a prisoner, and I told my friends how I felt suffocated.

I made them feel sorry for me.

For a long time, I wanted to be a writer. Since middle school when I first wrote my first short story for a creative writing course and got an A on it. Then I wrote a poem and my teacher loved it so much, she sent it to the school paper, and it got published. I was so proud of myself, and you were so proud of me. I told you I wanted to be a writer. Do you remember what you said to me? “Writing is not a career you can live off right away. You need to have a plan to generate money while you work on your writing.” You told me that I could be whatever it is I wanted to be, but I needed to be smart about it. I took that as you saying, “Writing is not a career.”

I stopped writing once I got to high school because they didn’t offer that program. I figured maybe writing wasn’t an actual career and I needed to figure out something else. The problem was, I didn’t know what else I was good at. You told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, but I didn’t know what else I wanted to be.

Writing was the only thing I was actually proud of and I didn’t have a plan B.

I let the unknown discourage me and I stopped thinking about it. I stopped thinking about my game plan for my future. I basically stopped trying. I started hanging out with the wrong people, dissociated myself from those who love me, lost track of my grades.

When I was 19, I dropped out of college and left home. I couldn’t stand living under your roof anymore. I couldn’t stand the rules and the restrictions. At that moment, I couldn’t stand you. I blamed you for a lot of things that happened in my life, knowing that none of it was your fault. I left home and began living with the one person I knew would hurt you the most. Your sister. You never had a good relationship with her, and you were always worried that I would choose her over you, and I did.

I lived with her for almost 2 years. As you know, she lives 2 hours south so I was not only left you behind, I left everyone behind. When I lived there I wasn’t going to college, and I didn’t have an actual job, but I knew I needed one. I babysat the neighborhood children for cash. I lived on aunties couch.

I didn’t have privacy. I didn’t have friends. I didn’t have plans. But the worst of it was, I didn’t have you.

After a couple of years, the neighborhood children were old enough to either not need a babysitter, or they went to daycare/elementary school. I was completely out of a job, and I knew I had to get one fast. But I was also extremely homesick.

So, I called you.

You welcomed me home with open arms. There were no questions asked.

I was around 21 years old when I came home. You helped me find a job; yes, it was fast food, but it was still a job. I went back to college; you helped me purchase a car; you taught me the importance of paying my bills on time and maintaining good credit. You taught me responsibility and prioritizing time. You taught me how to trust and how to love. You taught me how to be an adult.

Don’t get me wrong, you still suffocated me with your bedtimes and your house rules, not to mention the fact that you never liked any guy I ever dated. Even when I was engaged for that short time, you still didn’t like the guy. I might have been in my 20s, but I still felt like a child.

Little did I know, I was.

If I knew then, what I know now, things would be a lot different. A lot of what you spent so long teaching me, never stuck, and now I’m living in a world of regret. I thought I could do this on my own; I thought your rules and your lessons were nonsense and that once I moved out I could make my own rules and do my own thing.

And because of that, It’s been the worst couple of years of my life and it feels as though it keeps getting worse. I haven’t told you any of this, or asked you for help in any way because of my pride. I’ve been afraid to admit how wrong I was.

I messed up a lot and none of it is your fault. It’s my fault for not listening to you in the first place. You knew way better than I did.

I’m 30 years old now and it’s never easy admitting when a parent is right. But here I am, admitting to my parent, that mom you were right; and I’m so sorry for not seeing that sooner.

So, I’m writing this letter to you to tell you that I love you so much; thank you for trying as hard as you did. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for still seeing all the potential that I have, even when I don’t see it myself. Thank you for still loving me when I mess up.

Thank you for being my hero.

Love Always,

Your daughter

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Kellie Gilman

Kellie Gilman

A Massachusetts-based writer/hopeless romantic. My writing aims to help my readers strengthen their loving relationships and build a bond that will last forever