You love flowers. You love the color purple because it reminds you of your mom. You love purple flowers because it feels like Naana planted them just for us. You love the Spring because the lilacs begin to bloom. I love April 14, because it's your day.
As I grow up, I am beginning to notice the sacrifices parents make for their kids, just as you and Dad have done for me and Cole. I am beginning to understand that I don't understand. I can't possibly understand the months you carried us in your core, the career you gave up, the very breath you shared to give us life. I see now that I don't thank you enough. April 14 is only one of 365 days I should be celebrating you, Momma.
You've never had it easy.
The world you grew up in spun too fast, forcing you to take the reins of adulthood years before you could even drive. But you didn't complain. You never complain. You fight, you conquer, you learn, and you persist. You never let anything slow you down, no matter how big the obstacle.
You taught me that quitting is not an option.
I know that year was the worst of your life. Some terrible twist of fate left you with a mom and dad-sized hole punched into your life. No one can be expected to hoist themselves up, look to the sky, and move forward as if every step feels just as light as the first. But you had to hide the pain, disguise the weight of your grief, wear a mask and put on a show of strength - all for me. You had to push me in that horrible wheelchair, the one we weren't sure I would escape. You had to steady me as I hobbled on crutches through the rain. You had to feel me break when I came home from school after the boys took my cane in the cafeteria. You had to stand on the opposite side of the lobby when they told me I couldn't leave unless I walked to the car. You had to hold my hand as I took off on the path I never chose to take.
You were there when all I had was pain, doubt, and fear. You helped me learn to walk twice in one lifetime.
When things got better, things fell apart. It's no secret I don't do well with change. But Momma, when our house split into two and everything was so different, you took every punch I threw with my words. I never hated you. I was uprooted. I was lonely, frustrated, and without an anchor, in the storm my life had become.
Once again, you refused to quit.
You refused to quit on your dream house, on your career, on your daughter. You have never once quit on me. I always wondered why, how, you never quit. It's because you're a mom. My mom. A magician, warrior, and superhero all wrapped up in the perfect, huggable package.
I sit writing this in the home you built, looking out at the sunset over the water, as the ferryboats set out on their journeys. In an hour or two, you'll walk through the door wearing the boots I always steal from your closet. You'll tell me about your work, your meetings, and the wonders you're working with connecting broken families on the side.
You'll be smiling the whole time. Like always.
Thank you for your infectious joy. For singing me to sleep. For warm hugs. For pizza at 8 pm when we're both too lazy to go to the store. For holding me when the world seems to fall in pieces around us. For always believing in the good when hate threatens to cloud the blue sky. For growing lilacs when life throws you dirt. For teaching me that this, too, shall pass.
I love you, Momma. With all my heart.
-Your Baby Girl