One of the things I'm learning about motherhood is that the moments of relief, self-assuredness and pride can be few and far between. Just when one problem is solved, another one seems to crop up. And in the day-to-day of raising tiny children, it's hard to feel like you've ever "succeeded" or done a good job.
So I want you to know that the times when you have told me that you think I am a good mom are some of the most important moments I've had. You probably don't know this, but it usually makes me tear up when you say it, and your words definitely carry me through the rest of the day, no matter how hard it is.
You're never too old to want to make your mom proud, and I'm so happy you're proud of me.
But the thing is, Mom, the reason I am a good mother is because I had the best role model on earth—you.
You're so humble, I know this is already making you uncomfortable. And I know you've always doubted whether or not you were a good mom—something I will never understand. Because you were so awesome every day, just by being you. I got so much from getting to be your daughter, learning from you and watching you. And now my children are getting the ripple effects, too.
Not only by the things you've told us over the years but by the way you've lived your life. You have modeled for your children what it means to have a happy, productive, meaningful life—thus giving us the ability to strive for that, too.
You always say that it's our job to leave this world a little better than we found it. You live this every day. Never seeking praise or gratitude, just because it's the right thing to do. You may have influenced my career a little bit, but even beyond that, you've instilled in me the deeply-seated value of protecting women and the earth. The world is for sure a better place to have you in it, and I can only hope that I'll have a fraction of the impact you have.
You once told me that the person I decided to spend my life with should make me so happy I felt like I was "swinging on the chandelier." Well, I don't have a chandelier but I definitely have that husband. Your relationship with Dad showed me the importance of having a loving and kind partner who respects and treasures you. I want you to know that my husband makes me happy every single day—I owe that to you for showing me that's what I deserve.
Thank you for going away with your girlfriends every year. Now that I am in the thick of it, I totally get why you needed those trips. But I also really appreciate that you did it because it taught me the importance of friendship. My girlfriends are endlessly precious to me, and I think in large part it's because you showed me that it was not only okay, but good, to tend to these relationships.
Thank you for coming to as many of my events as possible. You would work the night shift, come home and sleep for an hour and still make it to my science fair, ballet recital, Girl Scout ceremony, or whatever other things I was into that year.
Despite your incredibly stressful job (that I know was probably weighing on your mind), you always made me feel like I was the only thing that mattered when you were with me. I try every day to do the same for my kids.
Thank you for having hobbies, exercising, taking long bubble baths and doing things without us sometimes. I know at the moment you were just trying to take care of yourself a little, but you were also taking care of future me. Because now as a mom, I understand how important self-care is, and I try to make it a part of my life so that I can keep going, the way you did.
Thank you for letting me be independent. I know it probably wasn't easy to let me go to sleep-away camp every summer, travel halfway across the world for a month when I was only 16, climb mountains in the dead of winter, and move across the country for college. But while it wasn't easy for you, you made it pretty easy for me. You always filled me with the courage I needed for all those crazy adventures, and I still draw on that courage every day.
So Mom, every time you stop and think about how proud you are of me, please take a moment to think about how proud you should be of yourself. So much of who I am is because of who you were and are, and that makes me immensely proud, too.
I'm so happy to be your daughter.