A keen thing starts to happen as we get older: we realize the profound act that one woman can have on us, and how there is no one who we could ever offer more gratitude for.
These aren’t the perfect words to describe what it is that mothers mean to us, but it is somewhere to begin (and one that we should have started saying a long time ago). There is actually no perfect letter combination to express what it is to receive the offering she gave—a life presented to each one of our souls.
Mothers, if you’re listening, know though that we love you now, even more.
Maybe we have waited this long to say it because we hadn’t fully understood what this four letter word meant. It takes a lot of living to truly know love. Now that we are adults, we try to express to you the sentiment of something only a mother and child ever know: what this bond, which has lasted as long as we have been here, feels like and what an honour it is to tell you so.
So, dear mothers:
Our journey started together in close quarters, with me wrapped up inside of you. Imagine now, our skeletons shrunk down to the size of a pea and the inside wall of your tummy against our teeny, bare-naked toes. You were soft and smooth on the inside and it was through the stretched skin of your stomach we got to know each other, as the growing of ourselves made lines on you that you carry even now.
There were those nights we kept you up crying—2:00 a.m. visits to the side of our cribs. Do you know we still hear the lullabies you sang to us and can see your lips forming lyrics with a voice that will forever sit, tightly stored in the folds of our hearts? As we grew older, you told us bedtime stories. I bet we can still recall every inch of you back then and the times snuggled together when we were more like one person rather than two.
We may have thought back then that we loved you completely, but mothers, that wasn’t entirely so.
Even though the smell of your skin and the feeling of it next to ours, as a child, became imprinted on our souls, we didn’t yet understand what love meant. Mothers, know that we do now, and we love you so much more.
Hours were spent holding your hand and playing with the veins that crisscrossed their tops. Now we look down at our hands and we realize they look a lot like yours did then. We comprehend that it took sacrifice, work and the wiping away of hundreds of tears to get them so perfectly worn.
You don’t know this, but sometimes we still reach down and play with skin of our own hands and we pretend it is yours. We still sing one or two of the songs we used to together, when we are alone and in our cars. We shout them out to passing scenery with childhood jubilation.
When we were young, we thought we knew what it was to love you, but what we felt mostly was the love that you showered upon us reflected back.
Now that our chubby baby cheeks have slimmed into adult sized cheekbones and we live our own lives, with separate goals, we can say we love you truly because we now know the sincerity that this word holds.
And each year, mothers, we will love you more and more.
We don’t require you in the middle of the night anymore. We hold ourselves after nightmares and tears—believe it or not, the dark hasn’t scared us for quite a while.
Now, we comprehend that love is not easy, that there are cracks in the road of it and that even though we do our best, sometimes we make detours that take us away for a while.
One day though, when you are older and more tired, it will be our turn to rub your back, to tuck you in and to sing you a lullaby. We will do this, we promise.
Because we have just become grown enough to send this message, we hope it is not too late that we declare: we love you Mom, and more each year. As we continue to understand thimbleful by thimbleful what you gave, our heart for you only grows.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Catherine Monkman