Dear mom,

I don’t know much of the tales about perfect mothers and daughters. I’ve seen pictures of ones with matching party dresses, sipping tea and I’ve heard of endless shopping sprees full of giggles and secrets. I think we both know our fairy tale  didn’t play out quite that neatly. Our story was more of an antagonist and protagonist prose. It included all of the things a good story has. We had our problems, our rising actions and our solutions. We had ups and downs. There were times where we’d scream, laugh, smile  and then just like a roller coaster we would get ready for the next “thrill.”

Here’s why I’m sorry about that. I never knew then that you could have saved me from the angst of teenage-dom and from hurt and decisions  that I chose to struggle with alone. As a small child I mostly remember playing with my brother.  I do recall the annual  cousins shopping trip to Utica and one lady’s trip to New York City.  I remember Daddy being out of town a lot and I recall the way you bravely took that role of disciplinarian. I also know now that you had to. As a mother myself, I have grown  to appreciate how impossible it must have been to raise two littles that were 17 months apart, while your husband was working away from home. I know that you loved us and that family time was everything. I remember Sunday car rides for ice cream and rides on our boat. I remember camping and Darien lake, Florida and even Disney…but what I don’t recall was a close adolescent  bond with my mom? We fought…oh how we fought. As you tried to understand me and I tried to plead my case the wrong way. I always had attitude, always a snide comment and always an eye roll in tow. But what you didn’t know was that I was broken inside and afraid to tell you. Actually,  I didn’t even know a relationship like that was an option. I never even tried to confide. All of that stuff that I had as a teenager just sat there stagnant inside me as you sat  there right beside me…One room, one small chunk of time, one hug and one conversation away (that we didn’t know how to have.) It makes me sad sometimes…..

But here’s why I’m not sorry. I did sometimes struggle; yes. But I survived because I am strong like you! I know I was on occasion terrible to you and it makes my stomach churn to this day. So, sometime around my early college years when we finally shared beers and swapped stories,  I found my forever friend. I found my soulmate and my gosh darn lifeline. I will never take that for granted. When the bond was sealed it was sealed tight! I vowed to never stop making it up to you. I knew that we were going to be so good that the strife of ages 12-18 would falter. We have held on for better or worse ever since. You are the first person I call when I have happy news, sad news,  or “could possibly destroy me” news…and you’re always there. Our fairy tale is an extraordinary one with love of the unwavering kind. That’s because we fought  to get here. Our story is a special one. We have so much now because of what we didn’t have then. And while I wish I could explain to pre-teen me: “tell your mom what’s eating you” I appreciate how we’ve flourished  together now because I didn’t. This is our mother daughter story momma and I wouldn’t rewrite a single word.

I love you so very much.

Beth

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