– The names of trees, rocks, and animals.
– The song of wind through blessed throats.
– How to be kind.
– How to be strong.
– The art of perfect hugs.
– How to make pancakes.
In brief, she gave instruction on how to love.
I see you.
I see every day the messages that we receive as a culture to love our mothers unconditionally. To return the gift of life that they gave us with unending affection and unquestioning adoration.
I see how you tried to fit into that mold. How you fought every day to make excuses for her. To yourself. To the people around you. Because she’s your mom. And she’s supposed to love you, right? And take care of you. And she’s really not that bad. Not always. Not all the time.
I see how you spent all that time trying to be the perfect kid. Because being the perfect kid would change her. Because so much of what was going on had to be your fault.
I see you now, cringing whenever someone brings up their plans with their mom. Leaving the room when time comes to talk of Mother’s day.
I see you trying to explain to people why she is no longer in your life. Trying to articulate how hard it was to put up with her for years. To make excuses. To work on yourself and find yourself backsliding because of her constant negative presence.
I see you fielding the protests on your mothers behalf from people who don’t know her. Who don’t even know you that well. Telling you that she can’t be “that bad.” That you owe her your life. That you should give her something in return for this gift she gave you. In return for your life.
I see you thinking about all the things you gave her. All the chances and the benefits of the doubt. Every little chip she took of your sanity. Of your self worth.
I see you. And I want you to know that I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you for making the choice to remove a toxic relationship from your life no matter how hard it was. I’m proud of you for continuing to make the decision to keep her out when she calls you on the phone or sends you emails. When she tries to fight her way back across the bridge that you burned.
I see you. I see how hard this day is for you. And I’m proud of you for standing on your two feet without her. I cannot imagine the strength it took to get you through making that decision.
You are so brave.
I see you.
And you are okay.