I’m lying in bed sick with what feels suspiciously like strep throat – a raw ring of red across the back of my throat, a headache that wraps around the back on my neck… all the usual symptoms. I woke up this morning whimpering in a small voice for my mom, for a cup of tea and a hug. My eyes were full of tears, from the feverish dreams, from the tired, from the need to be taken care of. And my mom, she cracked open the door and smiled at me, the smile of understanding that promises a cup of pomegranate green tea and a long hug and a forever kind of love.
I don’t know how often you get a thank you note for what you do.
I don’t know if there are good words for it. You see, I want to be a mom. I drive through the long winter afternoons and I wonder about making a home and a family, of learning how to rock a baby to sleep with one song on repeat, how to color with a toddler and how to bake cookies with a seven year old girl who doesn’t feel accepted by her friends at school. I dream about that unglamorous life. I imagine how it will weary my bones the way it has wearied you, and how beautiful it has made you.
I see you as marvelously beautiful. My mom is, I know that. My mom makes room in her bed for me when I’m sick. She hugs and kisses me when I come home, makes me a cup of tea or a bit of toast, just because she knows that I am lying in my bed sick and sad. She tells me jokes, bad dating stories when I’m lonely. My mom surrounds me on every side with grace and courage.
You do that, too. You in the unglamorous life, you are beautiful in your 1am new mom outfit. You are beautiful in bringing chicken noodle soup to your sick kids. You are beautiful folding laundry and watching cartoons and desperately coaxing gum out of someone’s hair with peanut butter.
I want to say thank you for pouring out so much love onto your kids. When it’s difficult. When we yell. When we are ungrateful. When we push against you and demand too much and don’t know how to be grown ups and when we do selfish, stupid things. Thank you for pouring so much love out on us that we are surrounded on every side by it.
Thank you for holding us tight when we’re sick. Thank you for building a nest for us. I am going to guess that the twenty-somethings I know and love, we all have complicated moments. We are grown ups and yet young. We are trying too hard and not hard enough. We don’t know where the future will lead us, and we trip over ourselves sometimes.
But as we have fumbled, I don’t want you to think we forget. We don’t forget that you make a nest for us. We don’t forget that we are safe in your heart. We don’t forget that, for all our fumbling, you trust us to become something wondrous.
So thank you, from all of us, for the years and years you poured out love. Thank you, from all of us, for the sick days and the cranky days and the art projects and the road trips. Thank you, from all of us, for that wondrous love.
I hope and pray that someday, we’ll sit down and share stories about that wondrous love.