I have watched you my whole life, but now, I see you. I guess I have seen bits and pieces of you all along, but now I see you, all of you, as you are, my mother.
I didn’t see you waddle through the grocery store, your walks to the park, or your many other daily tasks while you carried me, awkwardly, inside of you. I don’t remember seeing you stumble, half asleep, to my cradle in the night to calm my infant cries and feed me yet another time. I didn’t see the toll it took on you or the exhaustion in your eyes, but I see it now Mom. I see it when I look in the mirror, and I know.
I watched you stop me from playing in the street, keep me from touching the hot stove, and hold me back from the edge of that cliff. I watched you teach me to read, to cook, and to show kindness to others. You encouraged me to do my homework, gave me chores, and had an endless list of things I should and should not do. I watched you tell me the same things time and time again, because I did not always listen. I did not see how frustrating and even frightening that must have been for you, but I see it now Mom. I see it well.
I watched you cook the same meals, wash the same dishes, clean the same floors, launder the same clothes, and bathe the same kids over and over and over again in a seemingly endless, monotonous pattern. I saw it then as just what moms do, your job, your purpose. I see it now for what it was, a life spent in unrelenting service to those you loved.
I watched you read to me, play with me, and take me on vacations. Those moments are some of my most cherished memories. I see now that you had a million other things to do, and how you often gave them up to make me a priority in the craziness of it all. I will always be grateful Mom.
I watched you dream and work so hard for the things that mattered to you. I watched you struggle for those things day after day after day. I watched you fail, time and time again Mom, but you never stopped trying. I see it now. I see the frustration, the discouragement, the hopelessness, and I see you fighting through it all, showing me that successes are just a small part of our story. The failures we overcome tell so much more.
I glimpsed your scars, the white lines running across your belly and a waistline size that will never again live it’s glory days. You did that for me Mom, and I know that now. I noticed your tears of hurt when I spoke harsh words and the sadness in your eyes when I made choices that broke your heart. I see them now Mom, and I am sorry. I detected your insecurities as you worried and wondered if you were enough, if all of it was enough. You don’t have to worry any more Mom. You were, and you are enough for me.
I see your wrinkles now Mom, the ones you’ve earned over the many years of hard work, wonderful play, and so many smiles. I see the overpowering love in your eyes, and I feel it in the life that you’ve lived. I see the things you might have had, the things you’ve given up, and the life that you ultimately built. I see the many people who admire, respect and love you. I see the difference you’ve made in the world.
I see you Mom, and you are beautiful! It’s true. You are, your wrinkles, your scars, your waistline and all. You always were, and you become even more so as the years go on. I think I see you better now than you see yourself. You are strong. You are kind. You are patient. You are imperfect. You are persistent. You are devoted. You are a mother, my mother, and I will always love you.