I probably never told you this, but this picture – it’s one of my favorites. Infact, I remember the day we stood there together – in the backyard of that house on Thompson street. I remember you looking at me.. just how you are in that picture, with such love and gentleness in your eyes. You (I’m sure) adored me .. loved me unconditionally. We had no differences back then … I was the apple of your eye, we spent our summers out by that pool of the apartment complex – I remember you telling me – I could have been that little girl on the front of the Coppertone suntan lotion bottle .. and I’m sure that it’s because of you – that I tan so easily (hardly ever burn) every single summer. You are the reason I love my sunshine, my flip-flops, a nice warm breeze and especially a relaxing horseback ride to finish up those perfect summer evenings… which have been replaced with a stroll around the golf course or nature trail with Nate .. not quite the same, but those rides with you – I’ll cherish.
Do you remember that day you took me to get my nails done? I do – I was in the 5th grade. We were on our way to Stefanie Lalande’s birthday party – it was a sleepover. I had my “Truth or Dare” game in hand, my sleeping bag & pillow.. thinking we were headed straight to her house, instead .. pulled up to a salon. “Heather we are going to go & get our nails done .. ” I remember picking out my color – it was a translucent pink .. I watched as my nails were trimmed, filed and painted .. and you, alongside me – also getting your nails done .. I felt so special, having that time with you .. knowing it was just the two of us, me – experiencing my very first manicure with my mom .. knowing that after this moment .. there would be more of those manicures to come. And now – whenever I go to get my nails done – it’s you that I think of. I remember arriving at Stefanie’s house, feeling so proud, telling everyone where I had just been .. and showing off my perfectly manicured nails! It was and still is one of my favorite memories.
Do you remember this day? High School Graduation – I couldn’t have been happier, and you were there – to cheer me on. You were so proud of me that day! This was the start of something new – I was almost 18, thought I had all of the answers .. like any other graduating senior does .. But, this was just the beginning .. Still, you stood by me – encouraged me to follow my dreams. It was so hard – telling you goodbye that day at NCC. We had spent the whole drive over from Idaho to Eugene, Oregon – you telling me not to go out at night, it’s not safe – and if I did, I better wear that flashlight with the whistle around my neck .. and if I was scared at all, to blow on that whistle. You helped me unpack my side of the room, not knowing if we would have enough space, but you made it work. You filled an entire container full with snacks, incase I got hungry and needed something to eat. I remember dreading that moment when you and everyone else left – there was nothing more to unpack, the boxes were empty, and it was time.. it was a terrible feeling .. seeing you leave. This was before cell phones, email or instant messaging.. and I worried about how I would manage without you, without our evening chats outside on the front porch, our rides into town, our time together. That first night – being in a new place, I’ll never forget.. I was so used to falling asleep to pure darkness… as I did, living in that house in Harrison out in the country, so quiet and so dark .. with the exception of the crickets .. and the stars. lying in bed that night – with the sound of college students outside my window.. and the fluorescent light of a street lamp shining through my window, I knew my life had changed. And, I had to experience just a few more things in life before really figuring out what it was I wanted to do… coming back home for a “break” that turned into “6 years” — I met some amazing people along the way, who helped me figure out what & who was missing … I soon decided I wanted to finish what I had started, my education, and I wanted to know all of my family.
When I decided I wanted to go back to school … we weren’t exactly on speaking terms … because along with going back to school .. I had also chosen to reunite with my grandmother aunts, uncles, cousins.. and many other relatives I had not seen since I was 9 years old .. and most importantly I found my real dad. We seemed to work through those differences (a little) .. but something happened in between the College graduation (in which you attended… you were there … but your mind was elsewhere, and I was sure to hear all about it on my special day – the day I had been waiting 4 years to enjoy) … It was that day – you had already decided in your own mind that you would not be attending my wedding… because I could not promise you that “The Others” would not speak to you or the rest of the family. Sometimes, if I had to do it over again, I would have opted for you to skip my graduation and come to see me get married. And in some ways – I wish you could have just been there for both of these very important days of my life – that I’ll never do over again. Why couldn’t you just set aside all differences for one day, and watch your daughter get married .. on the happiest day of her life. Why did you have to post such a mean comment on Facebook, proclaiming how HAPPY you were that I would be changing my last name? Was that truly necessary? Was it truly necessary to make a point of what a great time you were having that day with your sister, barbecuing .. not making one mention of your own daughter getting married .. because, I wonder sometimes, if you were worried about what others might think – what would you tell them if they had asked.. why you weren’t at your own daughter’s wedding? Oh, I’m sure you would come up with something to justify why you didn’t attend .. because, yes, that’s right – it was MY FAULT you weren’t there … because I CHOSE to have ALL of my family (who wanted to be there) watch me marry the love of my life.. that’s right. To say that I’m deeply hurt over this.. is such an understatement, you’ll never know just how bad you really hurt me by not being there – and it is something that I will NEVER do to my own kids – regardless of circumstances I may agree or disagree with.. because that’s what you do when you are a parent .. you put your own feelings aside and let them have that moment. Although I am still sad that you chose not to come, I have forgiven you, and my anger and sadness is only for you – I’m sad for you, that you missed that day. In the end, I can honestly say, it was a beautiful wedding and those who attended wanted to be there and that is what mattered. I would have loved for you to be there, but you weren’t – and well, as the old saying goes, “It is what it is.”
It has been nearly 4 years since we’ve really spoken – and there are some days that I miss you .. that I have to think back to that “last time” .. having coffee together, laughing together, telling stories together … shopping together.. as the years go by, I’ve been so blessed with the friendships I’ve made … and today, on Mother’s Day … as I look through the pictures of moms & their daughters .. I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have these amazing mothers in my own life. They’ve taken me in as one of their own .. and when I’m having those days … where I’m missing you – they are the ones who step in .. and they are the ones to remind me that even though you might not be speaking to me, you do still love me – because really, you just can’t help yourself. I will always remember the fun times we had together – and someday, I really do hope that instead of responding to a daily prompt on my blog site that I’ll be able to pick up the phone and tell you Happy Mother’s Day. But today – as I write this letter that you may or may not ever see .. I just want to tell you Happy Mother’s Day, I do love you mom..I always will.. because quite honestly, I just can’t help myself either. And – finding that picture of us .. way back when a few days ago – really made me miss you. Incase you wanted to know, I’m doing really well .. Nate and I are happy together – he is so good to me, and he loves me .. he would do anything for me .. we are a good fit for each other, and I’m excited for the life we are living .. and all that we still have to look forward to.
Happy Mothers Day – Heather