I feel a bit teary, I’m not sure why. Maybe because this letter is long overdue and maybe because you’ve just had your annual visit that’s ended too soon. Perhaps Grandma Barbie, your own mother, recently passing has had some influence.
I don’t quite know how to say how I feel. I’ll just try to start from the top.
Firstly, let me tell you how much I admire your work ethic. The fact you became a nurse younger than the norm by achieving high marks in your exams is something that makes me smile with pride. You’re quiet in nature but far from a push over and I think that shows by the fact you even had to get special permission from your parents to pursue your chosen career.
Growing up I found it hard that you worked so much. You’d be gone at night and asleep in the day. You’d work birthday’s and Christmases. Unbeknown to me at the time, it actually taught me compassion and empathy. I clearly remember you explaining that people didn’t stop getting sick over the holidays. I now consider myself fortunate that we could visit you at work and meet the elderly patients you were looking after.
Perhaps selfishly, I longed for a Hollywood movie type Mum. One who was home when I got in from school and who had those qualities of being OTT in the emotions department. I obviously didn’t understand money being a huge factor of why some of that couldn’t happen. It’s also taken my own experience with motherhood to understand why you might not have even wanted to be a stay at home parent. Alas, it’s also taken me this long to fully appreciate how much you worked and kept the house running. I never missed meals, the house was always clean and my clothes were washed. Admittedly, your cooking needs work but I really appreciate the fruit and vegetables that you tried to regularly incorporate into my diet!
We clashed quite heavily when I was a teen. I think we’re both naturally quite guarded regarding our emotions. You’ve never been a shouter and I used to find that both frustrating and admirable. Still, you know how to subtlety push my buttons and I know how to push yours. I don’t see this as a bad thing necessarily. If anything it shows how well we know each other and that’s comforting, in its way. Probably best used for good, not evil though ‘eh?!
Growing up, I needed certain things that you were unable to give me. An open dialogue didn’t come easy back then but I’m really glad that that is no longer the case. I think we’re both a product of our childhood. Good bits, bad bits and everything in between. I’ll leave it at that because I can see how much we’ve both changed these recent years. In all honesty and with hindsight, the distance has probably done our relationship good.
Maybe we just get on better now that I’m an adult. I feel like we continue to grow closer the older we get. I treasure the crafty things you’ve made for us, like the pom pom curtains and birthday cards where you’ve creatively glued my photo on. I’m comforted in the way you continue to support me, even from across the other side of the world. I can acknowledge how much you think about me by your thoughtfulness and if I didn’t recognise that as a teen, I do now.
We happily spend our days together when you’re here and I really miss that we can’t do it more often. When you left for the airport with Hubby and Little Man I cried. Mainly because I will miss you terribly and because I realised that you are my best friend. I felt heartbroken and alone and I feel the tears coming as I write. But, isn’t it lovely that we can say that? To know that we have reached this place, one filled with laughter, love and respect.
Before you left, you told me that given the circumstances you wanted me to know that as my mother, you’ll always love me. Well, I just wanted you to know that it goes both ways. I love and appreciate you. For then, for now and forever.