I just wanted to let you know that I remember everything about growing up.
Well, not everything.
But I remember the important stuff.
I remember Dad being off in Japan, Austrailia, Iraq, and Timbuktu doing his job, and you making sure my sisters and I never felt deprived of anything even when he wasn’t around. You still made sure we made it to every sport we ever wanted to try, any after school activity we wanted to try (remember when I played saxophone?), and anytime we wanted to hang out with friends you made it happen. I remember you being a better mom than any other mom I knew, all while filling in the dad role for Pops while he was gone.
I remember one time specifically I was mean to you. I don’t remember what happened. It’s probably good that I don’t. But I remember Dad being upset. I remember his anger as he took 10-year old me for a ride in the car and told me I had no right to do anything to hurt a woman who would lay on the tracks in front of a train for my sisters and me, a woman who would literally move mountains for any little desire I had. I remember the realization that came with that talking I received from Dad. That I was really lucky to have the mom I did.
There are some things I don’t remember, but if I close my eyes and try hard enough I can see them. I know that a week after I was born, Dad had to go. And you were left as a kid, 21 years old, with a newborn in a state as far away from your family as possible, on the other side of the country from Maine in California. But you did what you were born to do and you took care of me. And we did just fine.
I remember when Emily came, and you taught me to love, protect, and care for my sister in the best possible way. Something that sticks with me today, as I would do anything for my sisters. Because that’s how my mom taught me. You taught me through real-world examples sometimes. Like the time you confronted that middle schooler in front of everyone because he was picking on Emily when she was in elementary school. I think that kid is still pissing his pants.
I remember when Sophie happened. You had to deal with Dad being in the nastiest war zone on the planet, commanding tanks and being the exemplary Marine that he was, and you were pregnant. Most woman can’t handle one or the other, but Emily and I didn’t even realize it was hard for you. Flawless, every time.
I definitely remember leaving for college four years ago. Has it really been four years? Every kid has a tough time leaving mom’s house, but after all the stuff you and I went through together I think it’s fair to say it was different for me. I still miss it. I love living here in Old Orchard and wherever else I might live over the next couple of years, but I think I’ll always yearn for those days of you waking me up super early in the morning so I wouldn’t miss an episode of The Mighty Ducks animated show. It was my favorite, so you woke up earlier then you had to so we could watch it together.
Overall Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I remember it all. I remember that you taught me how to walk. How to not only read but love to read and learn new things. To question everything. You taught me all the names of the flowers in your garden, much to Dad’s chagrin (tiger lilies are still the best). To try new things. To never stop believing that “today is your day, your mountains are waiting, so…get on your way!” To value life in everything, from people to goats to guinea pigs. To love unconditionally and with your whole self.
So thanks, Mom. I owe everything to you. And now you have your own spot on this canvas of my work so far. But even when this site runs its course, and I start a new one or move on to some other pursuit, I want YOU to remember…