It’s your birthday! We gonna party like it’s yo birthday! Gonna sip Barcardi like it’s yo birthday!
You won’t get that reference, Mom. You have no care in the world who 50 Cent is, and that’s good. That’s a very good thing. It shows the world you do not hang out in bars. And because you never hung out in bars, mom, I never really liked hanging out in bars, either.
See, feminists in this country like to go on and on about how little girls are being damaged by the media’s unrealistic ideals of what a woman should be. They think that Barbie dolls are poison and that fashion magazines with freakishly photoshopped models are sending our daughters over the edge.
I argue – not true! Little girls don’t care about Barbie’s waist size. They certainly don’t compare the plastic doll’s proportions to their own, no more than they would a La La Loopsy doll’s. They don’t even look at fashion magazines. They look at the Toys R Us ads. What they do look at, very closely, is their mother. This never changes as they get older. Their first standard of what a woman should be is their mother.
Now, I know my faults and actually flaunt them as a part of my self-deprecating style of humor, but I’m not ashamed of who I am. I think I turned out to be a decent woman, always with room for improvement though. And while my father may have had a hand on who I am as a person, mom you win the prize for who I am as a woman.
While I may not have always understood you, and thus heavily criticized what I never understood, a few things happened in the past several years that have given me a whole other perspective.
And a couple of these:
I’d like to say, very publically, I’m sorry for being a mean and nasty teenage girl. I used to secretly hate that you let me get away with saying the things to you that I did. I wish you would’ve kicked my butt. Now I understand that you’re just as sensitive as I am, and all the mean stuff your dipshit daughter flung at you hurt and you never knew how to deflect that negativity. I’m sorry.
But more importantly, there are a few things I’d like to thank you for, because decades have passed and I’m pretty sure “thank you” are words you haven’t heard enough.
- Thank you for not hanging out in bars. I mean, that may seem like not a huge accomplishment and maybe it really isn’t, but I think that the fact that always being home and reliable every night 365 days a year like you were is something a kid never really realizes is quite a selfless gift from their mother. I realize it now.
- Thank you for making eating at home at the dining room table normal and pleasurable. You cooked 5 nights a week every week for decades. You didn’t cook crap either. Your food was and still is good. You came home from working an 8 hour day and spent another hour making delicious food for your family. You didn’t have to do that. You really didn’t, as most women don’t. But you did and now I do. Jeff thanks you, too.
- Thanks for having a positive self-image. Not even once have I ever heard you say anything negative about your appearance. You never complained about feeling fat (it probably helps that you’ve never been fat). You never went on a diet. You’ve never done anything silly like counted calories or deprived yourself of dessert or complained about wrinkles or obsessed over your flaws. You have always taken pride in your appearance. Carefully coifing your hair and applying tasteful make-up every day. You look great mom, and you always have. Thanks for not nitpicking at yourself.
- Thanks for still taking care of me. You keep my kids clothed. You come and clean my house and do my laundry. You still feed me and my family. You don’t have to do any of this stuff, but you do. I’m glad you do.
- Thank you for having good taste. Good taste isn’t common. You’ve got it and you’ve given it to your daughters. You know how to make a home look lovely. You know how to make beautiful things. You dressed Sara and me in very attractive clothing when we were kids, and my kids look great because of you, too.
- Thank you for caring. Too much sometimes. I don’t know how anyone can look at how hard you’ve worked the past 30 years and not know that you care about your family. A lot. Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is surely harder. You’ve never settled for anything but the best arrangements for us. And quite frankly, now I don’t even care if you complained about stuff. You were thanklessly working your ass off for a couple of spoiled brats. I get it now mom. Thanks.
- Thanks for picking and sticking with someone who is a good father to his daughters. Sara and I needed you both growing up.
I’m not gonna lie, just like every other woman, when I catch myself saying something or reacting a certain way or doing something that is exactly like you, I cringe. But it happens, more and more every day now. “Over my dead body will I become my mother!” I think. But mom, I know I will probably be a very similar mother and wife that you are and have been. And you know, it doesn’t scare me too much. Love you.