growing up without a mom

Mama, How I Wish You Could See Me Now

10 years without you and it still hurts just as much as it did the night you died.

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It's been 10 years. 10 years without you and it still hurts just as much as it did the night you died. I was just 11 then. A kid who was growing up, a kid who didn't know who she was or who she wanted to. A kid who didn't quite know what her purpose in the world was.

I'm 21, nearly 22 now and I'm still not quite sure if I have this adulting thing down yet. My personality has changed quite a bit, okay, it's changed entirely. I'm no longer shy, quiet or afraid to talk. I'm loud, I'm bold, I'm not afraid to speak my mind and I'm learning how to stand up for myself.

I've figured out what my passion is. When I was growing up, all I could talk about were animals. But, to my surprise, and yours, my passion is writing. I got back into it during community college and everything fell into place shortly after that. Writing is one of my biggest stress relievers. It's one of the few things that makes me happy.

I also attend many concerts and music festivals with my friends. I've seen and met many of my favorite artists over the last few years; you'd be blown away at the amount of concerts I've attended, so I think it's safe to say I found a new hobby.

Whenever something exciting in my life happens, I can't help but get sad and think about how much you've missed and how proud of me you would be.

I've basically grown up without you. I went through my entire teenage drama filled years without you. I became an adult without you. I went to the casino for the first time without you on my twenty-first birthday. Every exciting step or milestone in my life, you've missed, and it makes me cry thinking of how many more you won't get to see.

If you were still here, life would be so much different. I wouldn't have made as many mistakes as I've made, I wouldn't be so sad today and more importantly, I'd still have my best friend.

The family is so different now. We aren't as close, we hardly talk and holidays are no longer spent together. They are separate. We have two thanksgivings and two Christmases. I know that's not what you would want. I know you'd want the whole family together and it breaks my heart how we all fell apart after you died.

Weekends that used to be spent at your house are now spent at home on my computer writing my heart out or with friends attending shows or driving around town. The things I would give to have one more night with you, papa and the cousins together again playing Yahtzee and eating popcorn as we watch The Tonight Show with Jay Leno one last time.

The things I would give to spend one day with you, to hear your voice, to tell you what I've accomplished and get advice from you one last time.

Some days are harder than others. Some days, all I want to do is cry for no reason and wish you were here so you could tell me what to do, and other days, like today, I'm writing these letters letting you know how much I miss you.

As I grow up, I know life isn't going to get easier. Time isn't going to slow down and I'm going to go through more things. However, I know that it'll get better and soon I'll be living my best life.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. I wish you were here to see how much I've grown and to see what I accomplish next, but I know you're in a better place now and you're no longer hurting.

I love you, so much, mama. Until we meet again.

Cover Image Credit:

Megan Courtney

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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7 Life Lessons My Parents Taught Me

Your parents have been there from the start, and have no doubt shaped you into the person you are today

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I'm so grateful for everything that my parents have done for me. Even more so, I'm incredibly grateful for all of the life lessons over the years. At this point, they've taught me way too many life lessons to list here. However, I thought I'd take the time to write down seven of the most important ones!

1. Be Respectful. 

If there is one thing my dad has instilled in me from a young age, it's to always be respectful. I have always been impressed with my dad's ability to stay cool and calm in situations where that's the last thing anyone would expect from him, and he has taught me the importance of maintaining a respectful and mature attitude, even when life gives you the sourest lemons.

2. Be bold. 

My mom is the coolest woman I know, and she has always taken on life the only way she knows how: with unbelievable boldness and fierceness. Being bold means not being afraid to be different or to stand out, and my mom has taught me how badass it is to be the true version of yourself.

3. Be forgiving. 

Arguments and fights are unavoidable parts of life, and ever since I was little, my dad has consistently reminded me of how important it is to pick your battles. Knowing when it's time to pick up the pieces and move on is essential in order to be a forgiving person, not only to yourself but to others as well.

4. Be generous.

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be spoiled by my parents. Not only was I lucky enough to go on vacations and get beautiful gifts around my birthday and holidays, but I was especially lucky enough to be spoiled by my parent's love and kindness. Being generous, not only financially, but with your ability to love and respect other people is something I am so thankful my parents have taught me.

5. Work hard. 

Both my mom and dad are incredibly hard-working people. Growing up, there were times where my dad worked 12-hour days, and my mom juggled work, household chores, and taking care of me. Even though their hard work resulted in some sacrifices, they always did what was best for my sister and I. My parents have naturally pushed me to be a hardworking person in all aspects of my life, and I think it's a very admirable quality.

6. Be kind.

My dad is the type of person who will always stop in an intersection to give money to a homeless person, and my mom is the type of woman to never think twice about sacrificing her own needs to help others. Both my parents have shown me, along with the rest of the world, what it means to be kind and selfless, and I can only hope I will one day be as good at it as they are.

7. Stand up for yourself. 

Before I came to college, I often found myself doing what everyone else wanted me to do. I jumped into things quickly, hoping it would please others and make them like me. However, once I got to college, I quickly called my mom on the phone, crying because I regretted some decisions I had made. My mom told me how important it is to stand up for yourself, learn to say no, and only do the things you really want to do. Learning to live your life for you, and not let other people rule your universe is key to being happy, and I'm fortunate that my mom helped me realize this.

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