When I was a child, you were the most beautiful, perfect human I had the pleasure of knowing.
There were no mistakes, because, mama, you were always right.
When I asked questions, there was no doubt in my mind as to your answer.
When I made choices, they were tinged heavily with the essence of you within them.
My fears, my demons, my mistakes, the monsters under my bed and the broken hearts within my closet—they were quelled by your presence.
May the world have mercy upon anyone who questioned you, doubted you, alluded to mistakes that you had made— they were wrong, so wrong. How dare they doubt your perfection as a woman, as a mother?
And then I grew older. You remained my mother, as beautiful as ever, but the perfection came to be tainted.
I saw your mistakes.
I questioned your choices.
The monsters under my bed weren’t always scared of you anymore.
But I was scared.
Because this person I had upon a pedestal, this angel who could do no wrong, well, she began to make mistakes.
Actually, this is untrue. You had always made mistakes, but as I grew older, I began to see some of these mistakes.
I began to notice these decisions here and there along the way that you made, that I thought were wrong.
How dare I?
How dare you?
How easy it is to be disappointed, as a child—for I will always be your child—, to realize how very tragically, powerfully human your mother is?
So I bit my tongue and held back my words and allowed a flower of resentment and bitterness to begin to plant seeds in my heart.
To which you said, mama, as perfectly as any mother could,
“I am a human too, my dear.
I make mistakes, but I make them while I am trying to do my very best for you.
I choose the wrong path sometimes, but I do this while I am teaching you how to make your own choices.
I am not defined by a man, or a relationship, or by expectations of what I should be doing.
While trying to be perfect for you, I faced being imperfect within myself, but everything I do for the rest of my life will be putting you before me.”
And I continued to grow up.
And that flower of bitterness and resentment blossomed from a tight little bud, blooming with petals of appreciation, awe, understanding, and gratitude.
Because, mommy, when you showed me that you were not a perfect person, you created that space for me to flourish within my own flaws.
You showed, rather than told me how to screw complacency, fight against norms, and always speak up for myself.
I realized that seeing your mistakes was the greatest gift that you could have given me.
You said “f*ck it” to the expectations that we so often have about our parents being all-knowing, perfect, do-it-all-right individuals. You showed me a woman who swore when she was mad and stood up when she was being pushed down. You showed me a woman who kicked the stool out from underneath other people who stood above her shaking their fingers, and she was so absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful within the skin and bones and beating red heart that made her whole— you showed me a woman I want to be.
Not always right.
Sometimes with the wrong answers or a forage down the wrong path or a wrong decision, that might not be so wrong at all.
Because you showed me that there are lessons in all things.
There is love in all things.
That the seeds of bitterness and resentment do not have to remain stagnant within themselves, so long as we have the courage to speak up, to water those seeds with love and forgiveness.
The moment you showed me your flaws, peeled back the layers of your weaknesses, allowed me to witness your own willingness to learn on your own journey— that was the moment that you surpassed all expectations I had of what you should be doing as a mother to be perfect.
You showed me that it is so much more than that.
I am a woman who forgives.
I am a woman who apologizes.
I am a woman who asks for what I deserve and who puts my foot down, hard and unabashedly, when I don’t think I am receiving it.
I am a woman who knows how to love, flaws and all.
I am a woman who shatters boundaries and asks the hard questions.
I am a woman who admires transparency.
I am a woman mirrored directly and proudly after the woman who showed me how beautiful it is to be imperfect.
I am a woman who makes mistakes.
I am also a woman who learns from these transgressions and fights against stagnancy to be the most raw, incredible, bold version of myself.
So mama, today, tomorrow, and for all the rest of our days in this life and the next,
For not being perfect.
For not pretending to be anything except exactly who you are.
For showing your children that it’s okay to show weakness, it’s okay to f*ck up, and it’s okay to stand up and say, “You don’t get to judge me for the fact that I am forever working to be the best version of me.”
For showing up for your children.
You are still an angel to me, but one with a juicy, real, red heart that you are not ashamed or too proud to share with the world.
A heart with the same essence that beats within my own chest.
Perfect, forever, in all the things that make you wrong, and right, and so, so strong as a woman who finds more power in being real than being a carbon copy of what anyone else may expect.
You allowing me to see all of this, to learn all of this at such a young age, that is the greatest, most potent and powerful gift that a mother could ever give her daughter.
Today, tomorrow, and for all the rest of our days in this life and the next,
thank you mommy.
For every single thing that makes you, you, and therefore makes me, me.
I love you.
Author: Annie Plowman
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Emily Bartran