My mother called me yesterday just to let me know she had purchased a box, the cardboard kind with space to insert your own label, that she intended to use as a love chest. Holding our relationship within six sides were all of the cards and letters I had given to her throughout my thirty some-odd years of life.
And I suppose, in a way, it is. Words are powerful, motherhood is monumental and both can be profound forms of love.
I would have to say that my own mother was not perfect, of course, but she, like all mothers, did her best. And her best was pretty close to damn near perfect.
Each year, for my birthday party, my mom crafted homemade confetti eggs. For the three hundred and sixty four days prior, she served our family scrambled eggs every chance she got, shaking the yolk out through a small hole she had made at the crest of the eggs surface. The eggshell would then be rinsed thoroughly, and left to dry in one of the innumerable cartons atop our refrigerator. The week before the celebration, she scooped confetti into each egg, carefully sealing the contents inside with a square of tissue paper. Her weathered hands held the story.
Her hands also chronicled the multitude of sacrifices she made, not the least of which was working hard, full-time, to send me to college. And when I got depressed in college (read: smoked too much pot), she was the one to fly up and rescue me from my own self-absorption.
Admittedly, my mom also said “shit” way too much for young ears to hear, screamed at my father a time or two, and once, pounded the door between our living room and her bedroom with both fists while half-naked.
All the while, through each up and down, par for the course in any relationship, I wrote her letters about my feelings. It was my chosen form of communication.
Now, as I approach the age that obstetrician’s call ‘elderly prima gravida,’ I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I finally understand how hard my mother tried. I finally am seeing how challenging it might be to raise a small being. And I absolutely can grasp how parenthood is a mighty expensive endeavor.
But most of all, I can grasp that my mother was just a girl, thrust into adulthood. She gave her all to me while giving up her independence, her spontaneity, her easy Saturday mornings, and her attentiveness to and attention from my father.
Statistics tell me I am not alone in my indecisiveness regarding children. But just the thought of reproducing, of carrying a little us inside a growing me, makes me all the more appreciative for my parents unending efforts.
Whether you believe your parents to be your best friends, or your worst enemies, I implore you to be slightly more forgiving, and slightly less irritated. Say thank you. Tell them they are doing a good job. Call them. Write them a love letter or a letter forgiving them; that way, someday, when you are all grown up and they are alone, they have something to hold in their worn hands.
Amy Andrews is Positively Smitten’s resident woman of worldly wisdom and will be sharing her advice through a weekly series published every Saturday.