I'm Sorry, Mom, For All The Years I Didn't Understand How Much You Love Me

I'm Sorry, Mom, For All The Years I Didn't Understand How Much You Love Me

I'm turning into you, and it's not as horrible as I thought it would be.
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I know it couldn't have been easy to raise me, but you and Dad did it.

Throughout my childhood, I would sometimes get annoyed with the decisions you made or the embarrassing things you'd do from time to time.

Back then, it bothered me... but now I realize that it's part of growing up.

Being a teenager is hard, and I know that I couldn't have been that nice to you. I was trying to figure out who I was and what I believed. I had to navigate high school and friends and everything else puberty threw at me. Through all of that, you were my scapegoat. If I was angry, you were the person that I'd get angry with. It wasn't fair whatsoever, but even then, I knew that you were someone that would never stop loving me, no matter how awful I was to you... so I kept doing it.

I'm only now starting to realize how much I hurt you... and I'm really sorry.

As I get older, I'm starting to see everything you've done for me.

From the day I was born, you (and Dad) have loved me more than I know. You were a stay-at-home mom while I was young, making it a priority to teach me things like the alphabet and numbers and shapes. You did anything you could to help me excel and learn to love learning.

You encouraged me to do things I love, and that was apparent in softball. You came to all my games and cheered me on. You sewed up jerseys and washed loads upon loads of dirt-ridden clothes. You encouraged me to practice even if I wasn't feeling it. You were as invested in my hobbies as I was, which, back then, I took for granted.

In addition to the good times, you also stood by me when making hard decisions. When I decided to quit playing softball, I remember being terrified to tell you and Dad. However, both of you were understanding and told me you'd stand by me no matter my decision.

You also always let me make my own decisions. Being the indecisive person I am, I both love and hate this. In the moment, I want the easy answer and I hate that you don't tell me what I should do. However, in retrospect, I know that you're simply letting me figure out life on my own and allowing me to grow into the human I am supposed to be.

Mom, thank you for everything. Thank you for everything I can be too stubborn to notice. Thank you for loving me - truly and unconditionally.

We still don't agree on everything, but as I get older, I realize how much I am turning into you. No matter how much I said I wouldn't, I am.

And it's not as horrible as I thought it would be.

I love you, Mom.

Cover Image Credit: Jenny Lofton

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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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Mom And Dad, Your Differences Made Me Who I Am

They are two halves of the person I aspire to be — a thoughtful person, committed to excellence in each of her areas of passion, who is hungry to build upon the extensive base of experiences that she has acquired to date.

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My parents, the most important factors in shaping who I am, are a mosaic of juxtaposed perspectives, a tribute to the notion that "opposites attract." Dad once tried to explain their differences in the language of the Myers-Briggs personality inventory; his introversion versus Mom's extraversion, his thinking to her feeling, etc. Labels aside, the consequence of living with their differences was balance and an ability to place equal value on both breadth and depth in any aspect of life.

Nothing underscored competing for parental influences in our household better than the typical dinner conversation around the events of the school day. I'd usually lead with news of some test result. Mom would be quick to congratulate my good work while deflecting the conversation toward upcoming social events or some drama involving my friends. Dad preferred to discuss the specific problems I missed, even if 97% were correct.

Over time, I came to realize that Mom's seemingly dismissive attitude toward academic achievement was not meant to minimize its importance. To her, what went on in the world of human relationships beyond the classroom, was equally important. Similarly, Dad's insistence on reviewing every incorrect problem was not indicative of some ridiculously high standard of achievement. Instead, it was his way of communicating the value of always striving to be better and the importance of treating every mistake as an opportunity to learn.

Extracurriculars, like sports, were also illustrative of this household dichotomy. Mom would encourage me to join as many different activities as possible, just to give them a try. In the heart of the club spring soccer season, she'd sign me up for golf lessons, a charity 5K run, or volunteer my time to tutor a neighbor's friend. Dad cared more about mastery of specific sports. Quick to point out areas for improvement, he pushed me to excel through relentless practice and total commitment.

It was often difficult to reconcile Mom's push for diversification and Dad's push for focus, but I eventually realized that each was acting in what they perceived to be in my best interests. Mom wasn't tired of sitting on wet, soggy sidelines, she wanted me to have a broad range of experiences so I could find my true passions. Her mantra was that you couldn't know unless you try. Dad didn't push me to constantly practice because he expected me to get a soccer scholarship. Rather he wanted me to understand the work that it takes to achieve excellence.

Much to Dad's vexation, Mom often scheduled activities that interfered with practice times. We'd routinely go on vacation a few days early or to take a night off to see a play. Summer vacations were sacred and trumped any other commitments. The day school was out we would leave for the east coast and not return until just before school began. Lengthy absences meant leaving all commitments behind, including summer training seasons.

Dad never overtly opposed Mom's summer plans, but I knew he was troubled by them. Excellence required a commitment that was not compatible with being absent for several months each year. Mom was not against sports or the commitment they required, but she placed supreme value on the exposures and experiences that a summer of travel could offer.

Over time, I learned to live fully in each of my parents' worlds. When it was time to study or practice, I gave everything I had. Equally, I joined Mom's adventures, with eager eyes and a full heart. I learned that there is not just one way to be raised or a single way to approach a situation. I was never made to choose between competing views in my household, I was challenged to fully embrace each. My parents' perspectives are less conflicting and more complimentary.

They are two halves of the person I aspire to be — a thoughtful person, committed to excellence in each of her areas of passion, who is hungry to build upon the extensive base of experiences that she has acquired to date. I hope to be as deep as I am broad, to be extremely flexible, and to be comfortable in the gray areas between the black and the white. Like my Mom, I engage the world around me and am fed by its energy, and like my Dad, I am introspective and fully at home in the world of ideas.

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