To my mother, a few things I’ve never told you

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To the woman who will never be paid enough. To the woman who has wiped snotty noses, nasty butts, and eye boogers. To the woman who is underestimated, but time and time again amazes me with her unconditional sacrifice and commitment. To the woman who can’t put herself first because it is just completely and irrefutably against everything she knows. To the woman who never said no to that pitiful little freckle faced girl when she asked to wear that pink silk nightgown around the house because.. just for a few hours, she felt like a princess. To the woman who will watch me twirl like a ballerina each time I ask. To the woman that always feels like a soft and cozy blanket you just want to wrap yourself in and never leave. To the woman that lets me hold her hand whenever I want. Even in the grocery store. To the woman I hope to be like when I grow up, and to the woman I can’t imagine my life without.

To my mother. Whom I adore, and admire with everything in me.

If I’m being honest with you, there are things I feel you’ve never heard. Or at least you’ve been told before, but you’ve just never believed them. You listened, but refused to let those words become truth.. to allow someone to say something wonderful about you and, you know, actually hold tight to what they truly meant.

So mom, I thought I’d write them all down and let you read them. Words being read can sink into your soul a little easier than words being spoken to you can. Because when truth is right in front of your face, there’s no walking away or ignoring it. You can’t unread this. No matter how much you disagree, these are my most cherished things I feel you need to know.

You aren’t perfect, you’re amazing

From the day I was born, you made mistake after mistake after mistake. You were scared, heartbroken, frustrated, and tired. You were tired of being tired. Your hair was ratty and your nails were always dull. We were poor and you tried so hard to not let anyone notice. As I grew up, I began to see you as not just a mother, but as a human that just wanted to be loved. You wanted to be appreciated and acknowledged for everything you sacrificed. Your blood, sweat, and tears flooded into this family full force and you never looked back. Or at least tried not to. Because who doesn’t look back? You saw the life you could’ve had, and then looked at all six of us. You sometimes felt guilty for wanting an easier life. A life without long miserable hours slaving away in a kitchen cooking. You could’ve gone to college, or maybe even own one of those fancy smancy sports cars instead of those boring minivans we always had. You wanted to be perfect, but with six kids kicking and screaming for your attention and a glass of stawberry milk, perfect just isn’t attainable or even within reason. Which is okay because you’re not letting anyone down even when you forget the gravy for Thanksgiving Lunch. Did you read that right? You’re not letting anyone down. So in case you didn’t quite understand those larger letters up there- I’m glad you don’t have time to be perfect. I think amazing is a pretty successful goal you’ve achieved quite effortlessly in my book.

When you don’t wanna take pictures, I grumble at you because you have no idea how cute you are

You hate taking pictures with me. You would rather have a photo of a rock than a photo of yourself. You think your wrinkles (seriously what wrinkles) have gotten the best of you, and your tummy area is never to be recognized on Social Media. Well to be quite frank, you’re ridiculous. There’s this picture of you I always love looking at. It’s terrible quality, but it’s one of my favorites. We’re at the office behind dad’s desk and we were trying out the new webcam he had just bought. I think I was ten, and choosing the black and white mode, we just clicked away. I’m nuzzled onto your shoulder with my face next to yours and as we’re both smiling, you just look so.. peaceful. I’m not sure if you really were that day or even in that moment, but I know deep down, just by staring into this picture of you, that you were at peace in some way. And even when you’re not, and you’re unhappy, and you’re crying and angry about something, I still think you’re beautiful. Because you’re my mother. And only mothers will ever pull off sloppy tears in the most graceful of ways. So mom, I think you’re really pretty. And you always smell really good. I don’t know how you do it.

That time you punched a hole in my closet door, I knew you really really loved me

Let me explain. It was the night I had come home from a stupid party that Travis had thrown at our old house. (For those of you who don’t know, that’s my oldest brother). I was 14 and tipsy. All summer, I’d been working and saving the money for “back to school” shopping. I had FINALLY collected 400 big ones. This specific night was a Friday night, and the next morning we were to wake up early and spend the whole day shopping. It was all planned. You had told me countless times to put my money in a drawer- to not keep it all in my wallet. And because I’m not always the brightest bulb, I didn’t listen because I was 14 and convinced I was responsible enough to carry $400 around. So what happened? I bring my heavy wallet to this party, hide it under some boxes, and go about my merry way trying to be cool like the older kids. Well.. after a few too many sips of a Sonic drink that was swirling with Ever Clear, I was waddling around “pretending” to be drunk. I then waddled over to pick up my wallet and.. it suddenly weighed less. All the money was gone. every. last. dollar. I came home and you walk into my room because that’s just what moms do when their teenage daughters come home with fruit drenched liquor on their breathe. My stomach fumbled and turned.. my heart was racing and I could feel the walls coming in towards me. I didn’t want to tell you. I knew you’d be so angry. You told me so many times but I didn’t listen, and I’ve always believed this was the night I truly realized just how much you care for my joy.

“All of the money was stolen..” I said in a quivering tone. You look at me, your eyes grow wider and you jerk your head back. “All of it? All $400?” I put my head down in shame and I wasn’t ready to hear those words I knew you were going to say.. “Sarah Caton Warrick I told you NOT to carry that around!” Yea, you pulled the full name card. I can’t remember what all was said after that, because after the conversation grew a few more sentences longer, you clenched your fist, rared back, and punched my closet door so hard the metal hinges broke off the frame. As I sat there and watched that white piece of wood slam loudly onto the stained pavement, I was so terrified you were going to come after me. I knew deep down you would never do that, but it was one of the scariest moments I’ve ever encountered with you. You were furious. You were so angry. All because I was disobedient and you had to watch the consequences of my idiotic actions fall on me like a sequence of bricks being thrown at my face. While you just had to sit there, and watch me get hit. You hated it. You hated how hurt I was, and you hated that you couldn’t do anything about it. You wish you could’ve come with me to that party just to hold my wallet for me, or probably to not even let me go. In fact, you probably, to this day, regret letting me even go. Because if I remember correctly, you didn’t want me to go. At all. But I convinced you to and then.. that happened. So mother, if I’m saying what I’m really feeling right now, I’m glad you reacted the way you did that night. You showed me how deeply you care in the craziest and most memorable of ways. And also how crazy strong you are. And that’s awesome.

You make people feel confident in their own skin

I’ve always noticed that about you. Anytime we’re around someone, new or known, you give off this vibe that just screams, “be who you are, I promise I’ll still love you.” Growing up, I wasn’t exactly the cool kid. My awkwardness stumped you and each time I came home crying because some dumb boy didn’t like me, your response was always that they’re just intimidated. Really mom.. intimidated.. I knew you were lying, trying to come up with something that didn’t imply it was MY fault that I felt like a complete loser. But now, I admire it. You never once made me feel bad for being me. In fact, you were my biggest supporter, my never ending source of encouragement. You didn’t tell me to do my hair differently, or wear makeup, or to even choose cuter clothes. You made me feel like I was good enough in my own skin, and that if I was being made fun of, it was their own problem and not mine. Because you thought I was the coolest, and you knew I just wanted to be happy with who I was. You wanted me to feel beautiful in my own skin, and you never stopped wiping those big baby tears from my face when I didn’t understand why kids were so mean. Growing up was easy with you as a mom, because I knew that anything or anyone I wanted to be, you would love me just the same. Because you just love people like that. You love them genuinely and passionately no matter what. Thank you for allowing me to be myself, and showing me how to see people for who they are instead of who I think they should be.

I love you, and I hope you enjoyed the few things I wanted you to know. Because you’re not one of those normal moms. You’re a cool mom.

And so please.. please let go of the past. Let go of all the times you’ve felt worthless. Because you’re human, and you’re trying.

You work so hard just to be there for us, and I want you to know that I notice.

your daughter that knows multiplication (not the small one),

-cw

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