To My Mom, Thank You For Your Lessons And Sacrifice

To My Mom, Thank You For Your Lessons And Sacrifice

We can't help but become them, so why not love them?

I am surrounded by so many wonderful women in my life, and with the passing of Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of what I should be, unconditionally, grateful for. I look to my mother, to my boyfriend’s mother, to the mothers of my friends, to grandmothers and aunts. I can’t help but feel so much gratitude for all that they’ve sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, for the children they’ve so selflessly sculpted into the wonderful human beings I love so much.

On a psychological level, there’s the definitive function of the mother figure. Maternal preoccupation, as theorized, is a necessary motherly instinct that helps in the formation of the child’s psyche. On a less analytical level, we all, eventually, become our mothers for a reason. My anal, at times frantic, desire for a well-swept floor no doubt came from my mother’s post-natal maternal preoccupation that lasted from birth until this very moment- which included her surrounding me, and at times bombarding me, with home-centric rhetoric on cleanliness. I am anxious, which is something I didn’t wish to inherit though; but whether it’s biological or psychological, I did. I’m also overtly caring and sensitive beyond my own control and these are things I can thank my mother for.

Support, in the terms we so often think of it- financial -wasn’t always an option for my mother. I’m one of four on my mother’s side, and sometimes the bills were overwhelming and the paychecks were underwhelming. I saw my mother cry often, and at times I felt the burden of her single parenthood in moments of my childhood. This might sound toxic or debilitating to my wee self’s development, but in my bigness, I have grown to find that I not only empathize with my mother’s actions but I appreciate them. I watched her work hard, not so that I didn’t have to, but so that I knew how to. I gained from her a work ethic that most of my bosses praise, and I gained from her also a sense of responsibility and pride in my own accomplishments. It wasn’t an easy childhood, but it was rewarding. I know now that while life may not always come up roses, you can always adorn it with fake Dollar Store roses so that the neighbors think you’re fancy.

I also thank my mother for the things she couldn’t do; the things that made me angry when I was younger but now relish in as an adult. I can remember hating having to babysit, but as I’ve grown older and have left the house I’ve found that my siblings look to me as something of an authority figure, someone they can look up to and towards. I’ve become a solicitor of thrifty advice (“Nathan, if you join a bunch of clubs, Mom won’t ask you do the floors every day!”) and a purchaser for the forbidden (“The hamster was only $15, it’s an investment in her future!”). I know how to change diapers and make awesome pancake breakfasts, and I have great patience with little people, sometimes more than I’d like. I had to be independent, and I know I can be depended upon, and all because of my mother.

As I'm writing this, it is my mother’s birthday, she’s turning fort----thirty. It is the 15th time we’ve celebrated her thirtieth birthday, and it is the 19th time I have owed my mother more than I could ever repay her.

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21 Things My Dad Taught Me Without Even Realizing

Thank you, Dad. Not just for these things, but for so much more and then some more.

You know the tale: little girls are Daddy's little girls and little boys are Momma's boys. Well I can't say that was particularly true for me because I apparently told my Dad that I didn't love him when I was little and that I only loved my Mom. Sorry, Dad, but keep in mind that I (eventually) loved you too.

You may be asking, "Why did Taylor write this article?" right now and I'm going to tell you: to make big, strong men like you ask questions; just like you told me when I was younger! However, I did feel the need to write an article for you because: 1) I've written about Mom before, 2) I've written about teachers before, 3) I needed to submit an article, but mostly 4) you deserve to be recognized for what all you do in my life and how you impacted me so greatly. I love you.

1. Always work hard.

I could probably count on one hand the times my dad has called out of work, and most of them were because he was sick/had appointments/etc, and I aspire to be that dedicated. Seriously.

2. Ford is always better than Chevy.

Built Ford Tough. It was the first automobile company. There's nothing else to say about that.

3. What a good sounding car sounds like.

I do have to say, though, I also learned that through the Fast & Furious movies too. (RIP my husband, Paul Walker aka Brian O'Connor aka An Actual Angel).

4. Stand up for what you believe in.

Yeah, I could get called a b*tch, but at least I'll prove my point and establish dominance.

5. Men DO cry... sometimes.

And that is perfectly OK, even encouraged!

6. That '80s music (Classic Rock, specifically) is ultimately the best.

Again, it wasn't just him that taught me this, but mainly.

7. He will always be there.

Never has he left me stranded or left me without knowing that I could always count on him.

8. I can do anything I set my mind to.

Dad, you have always told me this. When it comes to most things now, I believe it.

9. To laugh out loud at everything you think is funny.

Yeah, you remember those episodes of Friends and That 70s show, don't you? I do.

10. To drive... and drive fast.

Again, the Fast and Furious cast taught me this too, and so did Mom, but you get it.

11. Cutting people out of your life if you need to is OK, whether it's forever or temporary.

*Snip snip*. Sometimes you just have to do it. For your sake or theirs.

12. People don't keep all of their promises.

I'm pretty sure you'll know what I'm referring to here, Dad, but you ultimately made it right.

13. Never start a fight, but finish it.

Similarly, never throw the first punch, but you better throw the last one.

14. A heartbreak can always heal.

I will be OK.

15. You can always wish and want, but you probably aren't going to get it unless you work for it.

In other words... wish in one hand and **** in the other, see what fills up faster.

16. How to answer suspicious phone calls.

"Hello, this is Coffey's pool hall. 8 Ball speaking, how can I help you?"

18. If you don't ask, the answer is always no.

Truth. Facts.

19. How to do a burnout.

20. Boys are dumb.

They don't know what they want and they will break your heart, but always refer back to #14.

21. Chase my dreams and hope for the best.

You (& Mom) have helped me more in my career more than anyone else and for that, I cannot thank y'all enough.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Coffey

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An Open Letter To My Dad

I'm sorry for never believing you.

Dear Dad,

I know I never made things super easy for you, considering all of my backtalk, temper tantrums, and emotional rampages. I know I said awful things to you in the heat of arguments that I felt like I couldn't win. I know that at some points, I could not wait to get away and live without your constant rule in college. But this is the moment you have been waiting for: You were right, and I was wrong.

Every time you yelled at me for wearing too much makeup, you could expect a blow up no matter who else was in the room. I thought you were being old fashioned and trying to keep me from growing up. Even when you claimed you were saying it to be nice, I didn't believe you. I thought you didn't want me growing up and were using excuses to justify it. But now, I get it. I get that wearing so much makeup is just covering up my beauty that you always saw. I get that you were just trying to tell me that I was perfect the way I was. For those fights, I am sorry.

Every fight we had about my outfits ended in tears and frustration. Whether I was heading out the door to a middle school dance or prom dress shopping, I always knew that you would never like what I picked out. You would comment that it showed too much skin or would give boys the wrong idea about me. I thought you were being an annoying dad who wasn't progressive enough.

But coming to college, I get it. I get that dressing a certain way gives off certain ideas. I get that as unfortunate as it is, I have to dress modestly if I do not want to receive looks and glances that make me scared and uncomfortable. You were only trying to protect me and teach me a lesson about the cruel realities of the world. For those fights, I am sorry.

Every time you told me I wasn't confident enough, I would always cry. Why couldn't you just see that I had a backbone, whether or not I stuck up to people? Didn't you get that I didn't want drama to deal with, and sometimes I just had to keep quiet? You always told me I let people walk all over me. I never believed you. But now, I get it. I see that people will take advantage of you for being too nice or too accepting. You were only trying to teach me that I need to stand my ground, and be confident in my beliefs and decisions. For those fights, I am sorry.

Every time we got in the car to practice driving, I thought we were going to kill each other. You would yell that I needed to pay better attention and that I was going to get into an accident if I didn't take it seriously. I blew you off as being anxious and frustrated and decided to blast music and drive *somewhat* recklessly after receiving my license.

But now, I get it. After getting into my first, and very bad, accident, I realized you were right all along. After hearing the crashing of metals and being thrown around in the car, I finally get it. When I saw you pull up to the accident scene, I was scared that you were going to yell at me and take my license away. Instead, all you did was hug me and tell me you loved me.

I realized that you weren't trying to stress me out, or scare me into not wanting to drive so you would always get to drive me everywhere. You were trying to save my life. For those fights, I am sorry.

Let's not forget every single fight we have ever had about boys. You always seemed to have a problem with anyone, saying they were never good enough or that I deserved so much better. I thought you were being harsh and judgmental, and that you would never accept anything. But now, I get it. You were only trying to stress how special I am, and how I deserve to have a guy who treats me like I am the only girl in the world. For those fights, I am sorry.

For every single fight we have ever had, you were only trying to prepare me for what the world is truly filled with. Not everyone is as nice and thoughtful as you, and that's why you had to make me aware of the harsh realities that I could unfortunately have to face. Thank you for never failing to make me laugh, cry, and smile whenever I need it.

Cover Image Credit: News@Northeastern

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