Mom and Dad,
I may not have always understood you, but now as I raise my own family, I see much more clearly. I have a deeper love and respect for you because I know you gave all of yourselves to us, even when my siblings and I didn’t know it.
Now as I’ve grown, I have two perceptions of you.
The younger version of me viewed you as two people who could’ve never actually had a childhood, because in my eyes you stayed the same age your whole life. And I was never supposed to grow up. In fact, my childhood was such bliss that I never had anything real to worry about. My focus was on what I was playing or creating. Sometimes we had homework, chores, and church. We slowly learned responsibility for ourselves and for taking care others. We learned about morals, values, manners…. We learned about living with purpose, the tragedy of death, and Heaven after life on Earth. All of these lessons just happened in good time.
Photo from Unsplash: Sarandy Westfall
You know what I don’t remember?
I don’t remember ever feeling like you didn’t have time for us or if our house was a wreck. I don’t remember if you ever felt judged by other parents or if you got looks from people when we misbehaved. I don’t remember how much we likely invaded your personal space or interrupted your conversations. I don’t remember if there was ever a time when it was hard for you to put food on the table or if you ever questioned how to get by till the next paycheck. I don’t remember you being scared for us or the nights you ninja’d to our rooms to make sure we were okay at night. I don’t remember any times when you we’re unsure of what to do or how you got the answers. I don’t remember many of the major conversations you had or how you two probably had to really make the time to be alone together. I don’t remember your prayers for us or all that you dreamed for us.
The younger version of myself had no idea what challenges and triumphs you both faced.
Then, there’s a different side. The mom in me sees so much more.
I feel so much pride for my kids when I witness them riding their bikes for the first time or singing the whole alphabet song through. I watch them struggle and sometimes fail over and over. I’m sad to see their excitement dwindle to discouragement. I want them to feel that sweet victory so bad and continue cheering until they’ve accomplished their goals. And it feels so good to celebrate with them!
Other times, I feel heartbroken when they get hurt. I feel happy when they smile and giggle. I feel nervous for them when they start something new. I feel so much for them. The word “love” doesn’t even seem to justify how much I care. And I know you felt the same way about us.
I know things must have been a lot more diffulicult for you than I realized then. But I all I remember when I was younger is that I had two parents that were strong and caring. You two just handled life as it came at you. I remember feeling so special to get your undivided attention or when you came to all of my plays, games, and programs. Not only were you there at all of my birthdays, religious sacraments, and graduations, but you celebrated them with pride.
Even the simple things were always special.
You read aloud library books, made me your little helper at the grocery store, and we baked cookies together.
And we went on morning walks, played catch, and we built things together with our own two hands.
I have so many fond memories of my childhood. To be honest I don’t remember anything really bad ever happening. You were always there, always alongside us, wanting the best for us, cheering us on, and not letting us give up.
Photo from Unsplash: Sarandy Westfall
Now as we’ve grown, I know that love hasn’t gone away. It never could. And I know you’re still thinking of us, hoping we achieve our dreams, and loving us not matter where we are. No matter how many times we fail, you’re still there cheering us on.
I know because I’m living in it, watching my babies grow. And I know you have so much love for them, your grandbabies. I can’t even imagine how special it must be to snuggle up on little ones again. It makes me so happy to see you with our kids. Knowing all the love and all the happiness that comes with it.
I wouldn’t trade my childhood for any other, no matter if you think you didn’t do a good enough job. No matter how many times you doubted yourselves. I never saw any of that. You were always enough for us.
I love you both so much!
Love always, Your little girl