I get it now, Mom. I haven’t been a mother for all that long. And I’m sure I’ll have more “Eureka!” moments along the way. But there’s so much I understand now — about you, about my upbringing, about our family values.
I never understood why you wouldn’t let me just pop in to my friend’s house at any given time. I thought it would be a good way for me to get out of your hair. I get it now, Mom. You would get a “break” from us physically, but you’d still be constantly thinking about our wellbeing and whether we were behaving. These days, when the neighbor boy comes around looking for a playmate, I tell him he can come over for a little while. No, my daughters, you cannot go to his house. I don’t know what kind of supervision he has there. Sorry, kiddo, you cannot to go to your “best friend’s” house immediately after gymnastics. It wasn’t planned, and we have other things to do. It’s fun to have play dates, but it’s best to have a start time and a reasonable end time.
You seemed so overprotective. You wouldn’t let me roam the neighborhood or walk to the convenience store unattended. You had to know all my friends and their parents before I could go to their houses to play. You always seemed to be telling me to be safe. I get it now, Mom. I can’t imagine dropping off my girl at a friend’s house without knowing who lives there. While we have settled in a much quieter and safer town than I grew up in, no child of mine will be taking a walk to the Harbor to hang out at Dunkin’ Donuts.
I would be starving waiting for Dad to come home. I wanted to start eating dinner without him. What was the big deal? Dad was a fast eater — he’d catch up. You had us wait until we could all eat together. I get it now, Mom. Eating together as a family is so important. Our family eats later in the evening than I would prefer, but sitting around the table and having my preschooler turn to her daddy to share our adventures of the day is worth it. Eating dinner is a special time in our day. We should all be together for it.
I never understood how you would erupt in frustration and anger for seemingly no good reason. You were reaching your boiling point, but I was too self-absorbed to notice it was coming. I get it now, Mom. I can give and give and give throughout the days, and it’s still not enough. I mediate more spats than I can count. I listen to whining and somehow think reasoning will prevail. I don’t understand how toys can be repeatedly tripped over without being picked up. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in the house who knows how to change a toilet paper roll. I surprise everyone when I finally break down. I lock myself in the bathroom to give a gritted-teeth scream or let the tears flow for a few minutes. I give myself some time to cool down and then I come out to address the problem.
I used to think I was getting away with so much. As I became more independent and pushed boundaries, I smugly thought you had no idea. I get it now, Mom. You had a pretty good grasp on what I was up to. You were just really good at picking your battles. You were letting me make my own decisions — many good, some pretty bad. I try to do the same for my young girls, but I step in before things get out of hand. My 4-year-old will exclaim, “HOW did you know?!” The answer is simple: Because I’m Mom.
Motherhood is such a juxtaposition. How I could love another person so much it hurts. The phrase “my heart could burst” rings so true. Current events and the evening news strike me in the core of my heart like I never knew before. I can be so anxious for alone time, but once I get it, I miss being around those little voices and towheads. I now know what it’s like to feel pain and disappointment for another person. I also get to feel intense joy and happiness on behalf of someone else. And I get to cherish and be cherished unconditionally.
I get it now, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.