This morning I went for a run. I thought of you. I thought of how pointless you thought it was for me to spend time running. How, when I ran my first half-marathon, you were not impressed. How hard I worked and trained for it and how quickly you disregarded my accomplishment. It made me miss you more.
As I got past the first half-mile, I thought about that time in high school when you told me I couldn’t go to college. That it just wasn’t in the cards for me because you couldn’t afford it, but I applied and went anyway and went on a full scholarship. I thought about how you told me after I graduated that I must now feel so much “better than” and how using the money I gained by selling my house to pay off my Ph.D. loans was such a waste. It made me realize that you were very different than me.
Somewhere between the end of that thought and the first mile, I thought about the countless times you told me how I should do things differently. How you told me that your friend’s kids were having kids and you didn’t understand why I didn’t just move back home and do the same. It made me realize I’d never give you what you expected from me.
After mile one, it hit me that after all these years, my feelings of never being enough [for you] led me to where I am today. If it weren’t for all the times you told me “I couldn’t” I may have settled, and you know me, I’m not good at settling. It made me wish I could thank you.
Around a mile and a half, I could barely breathe, not from running, but from the grief swelling up inside of me. My thoughts are often so conflicted; we had many years together where I admired you and looked up to you, but we had many years where we completely missed each other, where I felt like there was nothing I could possibly do to make you happy with me. And, when I look back on us – on you – I can’t ever see one without seeing the other.
You’ll never know how many times I eat something amazing or see something I know you’d like and can’t wait to share it with you. And at the same time, I know that no matter how hard I tried, I’d still disappoint you.
Thank you for all the years of your life that you gave to me. Thank you for doing the best you could for me. Thanks for the motivation to accomplish all of the things I have. Because without those things I couldn’t have what I have now – peace and happiness.
Love you, wherever you are, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. Thanks for all you gave me.