Dear Mom: Thank you for taking care of me, because I still need you
Even though you are the best Yaya in the whole world, I know that at any given moment, your primary concern is still me.
Do you remember our first “Girls Trip”?
It was just after my youngest son had turned one, and had finally outgrown a food allergy which meant I couldn’t eat dairy or soy while breastfeeding. You planned a fabulous weekend away for us, where our goals were simple: eat, sleep and shop to our heart’s content.
No more restrictive diet, no waking up in the middle of the night to nurse or soothe, no taking care of anyone else’s wants or needs. Just rest and peace and precious time together. You insisted. I obliged.
We were living states apart at the time, so we met at the hotel on a beautiful early spring day in Vermont. We checked into our room, and there on my fluffy, downy gigantic bed (which I would not have to share with anyone for two whole nights), you had left a little beribboned box of gourmet chocolates. We toasted with pink champagne. It was one of the best weekends of my whole life, and we decided it needed to become an annual tradition.
Your thoughtful generosity which prompted that weekend was in no way out of character for you. You have always shown up for me like this.
When I was younger it looked different, of course. There were boo-boos to bandage and nightmares to assuage and broken hearts to help mend with a listening ear and a cup of tea. Then there were college essays to guide me through and salary negotiations to give advice on and a wedding to help plan.
And then came my babies and a brand new shining role for you to play—loving grandmother. You waited in the driveway for us to return home from the hospital and ushered us into my kitchen which was both gleaming with cleanliness and stocked with enough food to feed us for what seemed like months.
You were there to counsel and encourage, and to love on all of us as our family grew.
But even though you are the best Yaya in the whole world to my boys—a beacon of love and fun and mischief and joy, always ready with a treat and up for any adventure—I know that at any given moment, your primary concern is still me. Your baby.
When sickness visits my house, and I am kissing hot foreheads and holding puke buckets and grabbing fractured hours of worry-filled sleep, the concern in your voice when you call to check on us, is for me. I once asked you about this and I remember your eloquent explanation.
“I know the boys will be fine, because you’re the best mom in the world,” you said. “There’s no stone you’d ever leave unturned, no remedy you won’t have thought of, no worry I could have that you aren’t already riddled with. I worry about you, because you’re my girl.”
You know and love the man that I married and what an incredible partner he is. He shoulders more than his fair share of the labor of parenthood. But you also know that he’s right there in the weeds with me—also overworked and underslept and prioritizing the kids, just like I want him to. He doesn’t coddle me, because that’s not his job. He’s my partner, not my parent.
So when you book that hotel for us every spring, or drop by the house with a new candle or a bunch of peonies on a long Monday afternoon, when you sign us up for yoga classes or gasp in horror at the state of my worn-out shoes and insist on a new pair immediately (your treat!), I want you to know, you are saving me.
Every pot of chicken soup, every pedicure, every time you babysit so my husband and I can share a hot meal and a conversation in peace—all of these acts are lifelines you toss me as I navigate the sometimes rocky seas of my own motherhood.
And it’s not because I need these material objects or luxurious treats to feel loved, but because I need to feel seen. I cannot tell you the comfort I take in knowing that there is a person in my life who is constantly noting the state of my soul. Someone who knows how all-consuming and beautiful and hard motherhood is, considers my stress level, my mental and physical health, my happiness—to be important.
I know that not every mother has a mother like you. How I wish they did. The world would be such a better place if everyone was loved as abundantly as I have been by you.
So I want to say: thank you.
Thank you for a million kindnesses, big and small. Thank you for worrying about me and listening to me and supporting me. Thank you for acknowledging that this season of life can be a challenging one, that motherhood is a monumental feat, and that mothers need to be taken care of, too.
Thank you for remembering that even as I put my own children’s needs and wants far ahead of my own, I am still a person. I am still someone’s child.
Thank you for still mothering me, Mom.