February 26, 2024

A Letter to my Mum, from a Busy Daughter.

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Dear mum,

Every time you write to me, I feel like somewhere in my reply, I say, “I’m busy.”

I’m busy.
I’ll look tomorrow.
I’ll message you later.
Just a minute.

Yet once upon a time, you were my world.

It must be so hard, to watch your children grow up, and go off into their own worlds.

I try to make sure I always reply, but sometimes I forget, and I don’t get around to it, and I know you worry, because you told me. And as my own children get older, I understand that worry more and more, and I am filled with regret, for all the times I unknowingly made you anxious.

I throw sentences into the chat.

“If I don’t reply, it’s because I’m busy.”
(Really, it’s because I know you’ll still be there for me.)

“If I forget, can you remind me?”
(I know you’ll always have my back.)

And I know you’re always there.
You are always in my heart.

When I’m annoying.
When I’m annoyed.

When I’m happy.
When I’m sad.

And when I’m busy.
You are always in my heart.

I remind myself of everything you did for me.

And still do.
Of the unending patience you gave me.
And still do.

I think about the lack of time you must have had for yourself when we were little.

I wonder about the things you had to give up.
Were there appointments you couldn’t attend?
Were there friends you couldn’t make?
Were there holidays you couldn’t go on?

Did you ever close yourself in a room to cry, only to come back out full of smiles and strength, like so many mothers do?

You were always there for us, and you still are.

I know we are always in your heart.

They say that the best way to understand someone is to walk in their shoes.

Well I am walking around in your shoes big time now! I am raising two children in a foreign country, just like you did.

It must have been really hard for you at first.

I remember you missing your younger sister, like I miss mine.

I remember us walking backwards and forwards to the local supermarket to get little bits and pieces. We held your hands on the way there, but not always on the way back, because there were bags to carry.

I remember moving out, and eventually moving away.

I remember how strong you stayed, and that you bought me a return ticket, just in case.

And off I went.

It must have been so strange.

When I was a child, you were my world.
When I was a teen, I pulled away from you—as teenagers do.
I still needed you though.

Like I need you now.

It must have been so difficult.

I remember crying so much at primary school one day that you had to come and get me, and that there was nothing wrong with me at all, apart from the fact that I missed you.

And then off I went.

Once upon a time, you were my world.
What you don’t realize is that you still are.

You are always in my heart.

Linda

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