An Open Letter To Mom

An Open Letter To Mom

I've started to appreciate the little things so much more.
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Mama,

I think you know that the hardest part of college for me is being away from home, but I haven't told you how much I've started to appreciate the little things. I've never said thank you.

Thank you for always pushing me in school as a kid. My homework was never optional, but you always made sure that I knew it was my responsibility. You always helped when I needed you to, but you always trusted me to tell you the truth about everything. You always taught me to be responsible for myself, and that has made me the way I am today.

Thank you for showing me how to be compassionate. I didn't always understand that there were people who were different than me growing up, but you taught me to show love to everyone. When another person needed help, you taught me to help them. You always teach love, acceptance, and understanding.

Thank you for always encouraging me throughout high school and never making me do anything you knew I didn't want to do. Anytime I say I want to try something new, you are my biggest supporter and if I love it, you are my #1 fan. Even if it turns out to not be for me, you're still proud of me and you always make sure I know that.

Thank you for always being there for me. Even now, you always make sure that I know I can come home anytime I want to. You go out of your way to make trips to see me and take me out to lunch. You always answer the phone when I call and you care about every single day-to-day problem I ever have. You make sure you're with me for every big event in my life and you have no idea how much I appreciate it.

Thank you for being the perfect role model for me, now and when I was growing up. You consistently teach me life lessons every single day and make me the best version of myself. You have always shown me how to be humble and intelligent and how to carry myself with grace. You have always been an excellent example of how a woman should be.

Words cannot describe how much you mean to me, and how thankful I am that you're my mom.

I love you always,


Ashleigh

Cover Image Credit: Wendell Hardwick

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I Wish I Could Remember You More, Mom

I carry you with me; I carry you in my heart.
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It has been fourteen years since I lost you, Mom.

Fourteen years since I have heard your voice, seen you smile, or told you I love you.

There are some days I wish I could remember more. I wish I could remember what music you listened to, your morning routine, or your touch. It would be so easy to remember if I could press rewind and replay those one more time.

I was eleven years old when you were taken from me, yet it doesn’t seem like I was that young. Sometimes I get so angry for not remembering the small things. I will never know what your biggest dreams were growing up, how you became so passionate about art, or what your favorite song was. I will always wonder what your favorite childhood memory was, what you loved to cook, or what your biggest adventure was.

It has always been the little things I want back.

I don't remember every detail about you, but I am blessed to say I remember enough.

Because what I do remember, is vivid enough.

While I complained and whined about going to swim practice, you still managed to attend all my practices and meets in pain, barely able to walk.

While you and dad broke the news to me, you fought back your tears.

And while I was in denial and ignored the pain, you conquered it full on.

I keep these memories close in my heart. These might not be the best moments, but they are some of the most powerful memories on replay.

Sometimes I feel guilty, Mom. I should have been more loving. I should have done more for you. I should have appreciated more. I was just a careless little girl. I'm so sorry.

The night before you past, Dad told me your time was coming soon. We weren't very strong, Mom. It was the first time I saw Dad cry.

He told me to say goodbye, but I didn't want to. I tried my best to get out of it. I told him it wouldn't happen.

Not today, not tomorrow, and not in three years.

That night I told you I loved you, you told me you loved me back.

I heard many voices the next morning. Grandma referred to you in past tense as "the youngest one." Right then and there, I knew my goodbye was real. I hid under my covers Mom, hiding as best as I could. I did everything to avoid walking through my closed bedroom door. I will never forger the reality that hit me when Dad walked through that door.

That night was the last night we spoke Mom, the last time I saw you alive.

While there is so much I wish I could remember, I will never regret nor forget the time I said I love you one last time.

I will never rewind and say this was something I should have done.

I hope one day we will meet again, Mom.

Until then, I carry you with me; I carry you in my heart.


Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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To My Dearest Future Daughter, From Your Mom At 19

Even though I don't plan on having children for at least 10 years, there are some things I want my future daughter to know.
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Dear Evangeline, or Sloan, or maybe Honor:

Hi. This is honestly pretty surreal. Me as a mom? I imagine reading this back when I find out I’m pregnant, or the day you come into this world. I’ll probably think some of the things I’ve said here are stupid. What was 19-year-old-me thinking?

Right now I’m a college student just over halfway to my degree. I have no boyfriend or credit score, and my biggest concern is finding a date for formal. The only things I can cook are eggs and toast.

Right now I’m about as far away from being a mother as one could be. Stability and domesticity are antonyms for the hectic, whirlwind of my life at college. I survive on Mean Bean Monsters and ramen, and the only routine I have is for my skin, and even that is pretty loose. Last night I went to bed at 5 a.m. I wasn’t even studying, I was just rewatching "Captian America."

If I had a kid right now I’d lose my mind, and likely the baby.

My life has always been like this, unpredictable and adventurous and exciting, and I hope it’ll be like this for some time. I want to travel to far away places and tell peoples’ story as a journalist.

While I couldn’t imagine having a kid now, or in five years, or 10, I know at some point I’ll change my mind, and then you’ll come into the world and change everything.

That being said, I don’t imagine I will live out of a suitcase forever. One day, hopefully, I’m going to fall in love and get a house and have a kid. You.

Who do I want you to be? Who do I want to be when I have you? What do I want our relationship to be like?

If you and I are anything like me and my mom, we’re going to fight, a lot, but we’ll also form a bond so strong and amazing there would be nothing to tear it down. We’ll be each others’ secret keepers, best friends, and support systems.

My mom has sacrificed everything and has dedicated her existence to my brother and me. She has fought for us and worked endlessly to craft us into good, loving people. If I can be half of the mother my mom is, then I’ll have succeeded.

My mom taught me to be honest and hardworking, to also put God and family above all else. She raised me to be strong and passionate, to stand firm in the face of adversity and make my mark on the world. I want to teach you to do the same.

I want to raise my children to be smart, and strong, and ambitious, and independent, but most of all kind. There’s a lot of darkness and hate in this world, but I want to teach you to always seek out the light, and if you can’t find it, be it. Give to others and live as God intended, loving even those who hate you.

I’m going to teach you so much cool stuff as well. I’m going to help you learn to paint, ride horses, and read. There will be so many amazing works of art I’ll show you. One day, I’ll take you to the places I’ve traveled to, just like my dad and grandfather took me to places they’ve been. We’ll walk through the cathedrals of Europe I was mesmerized by and climb the mountains I explored as a child.

Then we’ll go on new adventures and make our own memories. I want you to see and do everything this world has to offer. I want you to experience life in a thousand people’s shoes so that you can reflect and grow your own existence.

I know it sounds like there are a million expectations already for you, but you’ll have all the help in the world to become an amazing woman and leader. You’ll not only have me but your entire family behind you.

You’re going to be loved infinitely. There will be no wrong you could commit that will take away that love. Your father and I (whoever he shall be) will give our lives to you. Your grandparents will be mesmerized by you. I can already see my mom dressing you up in frilly outfits that I’ll roll my eyes at but secretly love. Your grandfather will teach you to fish and to hit a baseball, just like he taught me.

You’re going to face hard times, but I’ll be there. If you’re anything like me you’ll break seemingly every bone in your body (twice). You’re going to eat lunch alone. A boy will break your heart. You’re not going to get the job. It’s going to feel awful and you’ll feel absolutely alone. I know, because I’ve been there. When you feel like that I’ll wipe your tears and tell you about the horror years of middle school, and that if I could survive, so can you. I’ll help you egg a guy’s car too.

I won’t say I’m going to be perfect. I’m going to make mistakes. Sometimes I’ll be unfair and angry. I might be too chaotic when all you want is stability. I’ll oversleep and miss your ballet lesson. I’ll let you dress yourself for picture day and then in 10 years you’ll hate me for it.

I’m not going to be the picture-perfect mom who wears Lululemon and plays tennis. I can’t bake homemade cookies. I have tattoos and I’ll probably go through a crisis and dye my hair bright red (again). There’s no question — I’ll disappoint you.

Despite what flaws I have and will have, I’ll try my best. Life is an adventure and we’ll journey together. I’ve got a lot of learning and living to do before you’re born. I’ll tell you all about it when we meet.

See you in 10 years (at least),

Mom

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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