To our mothers:
Though we're mothers ourselves now, we still need you. In fact, we need you more than ever.
We need you so we can say, "Hey, Mom, I get it now." We need you so we can say, "Mom, I never knew how much you loved me."
We need you on the glorious days.
The day we become "Mommy." The day she smiles at us for the first time. The day she gets her first "big girl" haircut as she peers at us through the mirror in front of her and the day she walks away from us into her first classroom, with her huge Dora the Explorer backpack.
We need you the day she brings home a picture of "Mommy and me" from preschool and the day she yells, "Hi Mom!" from the stage in her very first ballet recital.
We need you on the difficult days.
The days that for no particular reason go on and on and on. The days we haven't gotten dressed yet by 6 pm and there's spaghetti in our hair and nobody napped and everybody yelled and nobody but you would believe how hard it's been.
We need you long after that when we pine for those days because big kids' problems are so much scarier, and we need you to remind us that when our teenager says, "I hate you!" she doesn't really mean it.
We need you on the ordinary days.
The entirely forgettable days. The days we take for granted because one chases another and then another in the relentless sameness of routine.
We need you to remind us that actually there are no ordinary days—only extraordinary ones—because the years we're home with our small children are numbered, ticking down every minute of every hour.
We need you on the important days.
The day our little one rolls over for the first time, the day the first tooth comes through and then the one a few years later when it's lost. We need you on the day she walks for the first time, the day she first says "Mama," the day she learns to ride a bike and write her own name.
And we need you on the day just a heartbeat on from that one when we wave her off to college and then find ourselves on our knees on the kitchen floor because we're surrounded by all that silence we once craved and we need to hear your voice on the other end of the phone.
We need to hear what you'll say when we ask, "Mom, how did you do it?"
As mothers ourselves we so often operate in a tricky dichotomy of emotions—we long for the day they need us less and dread it at the same time.
We need you to tell us to stop and take a breath because—actually—that day never really comes: after all, we need you now more than ever before.
For me, you are continents away, and yet nothing is real until we have discussed it. Nothing can be decided upon until it has been sifted through your filter of balance and experience so I can see it more clearly. Nothing can be celebrated until you're celebrating it too, and I need your input on everything from potty training to how long to boil rice.
I can't imagine a day when that won't be the case. Our conversations, though still almost daily, now have to be snatched over the phone when time zones—and toddler whims—allow, and yet until we've discussed the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy I will walk around feeling like there are things unsaid.
Even as I mother my own children, I need to be mothered.
Some of us are lucky enough to have you down the road. For some of us, miles or misunderstandings separate us. And for some you're no longer here; you're now the voice in our heads, the ever-present absence that we never stop missing and that is always, always a part of us. Wherever you are, we need you; even as we mother, we need our mothers.
So we want to say: thank you, Mom.
Thank you for understanding what it feels like in these shoes. Thank you for the endless snacks and carpools and PTAs and conversations late at night at the kitchen table that we only now realize we took completely for granted.
Thank you for all the mothering you've done and all the mothering you have yet to do—because there will be plenty still to come. (I promise. )
Thank you for all those years you knew us better than we knew ourselves and loved us far more than we could understand.
Hey Mom: I get it now.