The other day, while we were driving home from the store, my daughter asked me, “Will you still be my Mom even when I’m your age?” She’s always asking questions so I didn’t think anything of it. But she didn’t drop it like she usually does. Instead, she elaborated. She pointed out that my Mom and I don’t speak, and she doesn’t remember us speaking in years. And because of that, she’s been worried that I would eventually stop being her Mom. In her 9-year-old head, this was “normal”. My heart broke. I somehow managed to hold back the tears while I explained, “I will always be your Mom”.
I tried my best to explain why not all situations or relationships are the same and how we have complete control over our relationship and how strong it will be.
From the outside, I guess I have a pretty typical family. I have an incredible husband who goes above and beyond to make sure that we are safe, happy and taken care of. I have three beautiful, intelligent daughters who somehow have a level of compassion and love of life that I can only dream of obtaining. I have a roof to sleep under, a vehicle to get us where we need to go, and family and friends that love me, despite my many, many faults. But something’s missing. I tried to suppress the feelings and pretend that it doesn’t bother me, but this question had me thinking about it all over again.
That night I scrolled my Facebook feed and realized that the same posts always stop me in my tracks. It’s the images of my friends with their parents, celebrating a holiday, a birthday or just enjoying one another. These are the posts that make me the most jealous because they prove that I don’t have a typical family and it’s likely that I never will.
I linger on those particular Facebook posts a lot longer than I should. I imagine what it would be like to have a relationship like that. What it would feel like to be able to pick up the phone and tell my parents about my day. What it would mean to have someone to cry to when I am at my absolute bottom. And while my Nana was that person for many years, there’s been an undeniable void since she passed away.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about my daughters. It’s about their perception of me and what I do or don’t do. It’s making this the new normal when in fact, it’s anything but. They deserve better. They deserve that incredible childhood that is surrounded by family and love and laughter. These questions should not be on their minds at this young age. It’s my responsibility, as their Mom, to fix it.
They should be having sleepovers and taking fun road trips and spending weekends telling their Grandparents all about their lives. They should be able to invite them to their important school events and activities. They deserve a relationship that is more than a couple of phone calls once or twice a year that they initiate themselves.
And while I have no control over other people, I do need to make it clear to my daughters that this is not normal. They need to know that they will grow up with both parents and countless family and friends, right by their side, through the good and the bad. Just because there is one broken link, doesn’t mean we can’t fix it.
Will there be backlash from this post? Probably. Will I be called a liar? Possibly. Will this be the slap in the face we both need to fix things? Maybe. But like I said, this isn’t about me or her. This is about my girls.
So, to my girls…
If you make a bad decision and you need someone to turn to, I will always be your Mom.
If you are feeling sick and need someone to take care of you, I will always be your Mom.
If you fall and need a hand, I will always be your Mom.
If you lose your way and need a light to bring you back, I will always be your Mom.
If you need someone to give it to you straight, no matter how much it hurts, I will always be your Mom.
If life gets too busy and you need an escape, I will always be your Mom.
If you lose someone you love and you need a shoulder to cry on, I will always be your Mom.
If you’re stuck at a fork in the road and don’t know which way to go, I will always be your Mom.
If we have a disagreement, no matter how big or small, I will always be your Mom.
When you achieve a goal or win an award and you need someone to shout it from the rooftops, I will always be your Mom.
When you need someone to dance with you and make up silly songs, I will always be your Mom.
When you meet the person of your dreams, and need someone to introduce them to, I will always be your Mom.
When something extra exciting happens and you need someone to call, I will always be your Mom.
When you finally get everything you’ve ever wanted, I will always be your Mom.
I will never judge you or doubt you. I will never break my promises to you. I will support whatever decisions you make. I will trust you and forgive you. I will never turn my back on you. I will always listen to you, even if your words are against me. No matter where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with and how you’re feeling, I will always be there because I am your Mom and it’s not just my responsibility, it’s my honor.
Whenever you wonder what our future will look like, please remember that from the day I found out I was pregnant with you, until this very moment and forever more, I am and will be your Mom… always.