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September 4, 2015

An Open Letter to my Children

mobilemadness/flickr

You thought I was the strongest woman (and person) you ever knew.

You only thought so because I kept it from you.

You never saw me cry or show any weakness. I made decisions clearly and never seemed to doubt myself.

I didn’t put up with any sh*t. I never backed down. You always thought we had enough of everything and no cares or worries.

I kept my chin high, never showing sadness, worry or fear.

You saw me as a provider, protector and someone who had confidence.

You always had a roof over your head, and food to eat. You didn’t go without.

I raised you all to be strong, yet sensitive. I wanted you to put family first and always be there for each other.

That said, I didn’t want you to let yourself get taken advantage of or ever used by others.

It must have been hard in some ways having a bohemian/hippie/tattooed mom. Free-spirited and flighty. Opionated, with a laid-back attitude. But, it made me unique—and all of you unique.

Now, for the confessions…

I was not always strong. I had doubts. Doubts about choices I’d made, but never did I doubt my choice to have any one of you.

I cried. Yep, when you were all asleep, when I needed a release or felt too much stress or pressure, I cried. Quietly and softly, so as not to wake any of you. Afraid you would be scared if you saw me having a weak moment.

On the outside I appeared tough. Inside, not always so much.

I was mom and dad to all of you, and I took that seriously.

I was all you had; I had to be strong. Your innocent eyes looked up to me to take care of everything and everyone. I always put you first. That’s what parents do. I loved taking care of you, seeing your smiles, wiping your tears and even being referee to your arguments.

Yes, you always had a safe place to live and sleep. You always had food to eat. There were many times I went without food, so that you all had enough. Some times were tougher than others, but you never knew. You didn’t need to know.

The only thing you needed to do was be happy and smile.

I did everything myself—not always by choice. I had no other option.

I was brought up in a time where you didn’t ask for help and no one knew your business. You figured things out for yourself. If you couldn’t, then you didn’t get something or things didn’t happen.

I never thought about you growing up, becoming adults and one day leaving me. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do—letting go. I selfishly wanted to hold on to each of you tightly and never let go. I realize now that wouldn’t be fair. I have to let you explore your lives. I trust that you will all make good choices. If you ever need me—to talk, listen or ask advice—I will drop everything for any of you.

You will always be the best thing I ever did. My love for you will never fade.

As much as I want you near me and each other, I know that no matter where any of us are, we are totally connected. We have a strong bond. We would be there in a heartbeat if one of us needed something; we have proven that numerous times. We are a force to be reckoned with.

I did the best I could. I am amazed at how you all turned out. You are all awesome and amazing people. Giving, caring, thoughtful and loving adults. I couldn’t ask for better kids. I am so proud of you all. I don’t want society or life to harden you or take away your pleasure and your ability to wonder.

I never envisioned how I wanted you to be when you grew up. Not because I didn’t want to be disappointed, but because I felt it was your decision. It’s your life to live how you choose. I never wanted to be one of those parents who pushed their kids into doing or following what they chose.

Being successful means so many different things to different people.

Money is just money. Fame is just fame. Stuff is just stuff. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living; what truly matters is how you treat others, how you are treated and if you are happy. It doesn’t matter what things you have. The more things you have, the harder you have to work to pay for them. Don’t get caught up in having to have useless stuff.

Always remember, family and happiness is what’s important. Money and material things have never been important to me.

I used to watch you while you slept, not believing I’d created such perfect beings. I never once thought, wouldn’t it be nice if he were a lawyer or she were a doctor? I never set boundaries, telling you that you couldn’t do or be what you dreamed of. I always said you could do or be whatever you wanted.

I always did say that I just wanted you to be happy.

Be strong, be true to yourselves, do what’s right, love each other, respect yourself and know that I love you to the moon and back, forever and always.

What really matters is how you lived, how you loved and how you are remembered.

I hope you remember me as a bohemian, hippie, tattooed, loving mother who loved you all so much and would have done anything for you.

~

Relephant Read:

This Letter to Moms Made me Cry.

~

Author: Marylou Webb

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: mobilemadness/Flickr

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