Love Letter to All the Moms — and Mine

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mom_tattooWith Mother’s Day coming up, it’s time to think about the women who raised us: mothers, aunts, grandmothers, even older sisters who led us in times when we needed them most. Women offering strong, resilient, completely selfless, unapologetic love. This letter is for them.

Thank you for your unrelenting support. Our stubborn phases that seemed like they would last forever. The myriad ways you still loved us even when we didn’t necessarily deserve it. Thank you for the ways you always love us, and continue to forgive and to encourage us. All the things you’ve done don’t go unnoticed. Whether you’re a young mother just starting out, or a mature mother with a second or third on the way, you have given us your full dedication and treat us like we’re the best thing to ever step foot on this planet. We know that certainly isn’t the case.

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And on behalf of all rebel children, such as myself, I would like to apologize for the heartache and stress that we’ve caused you on more than a few occasions. Your understanding and patience with us during the more challenging years of our lives is very much appreciated. Even though we’re grown up now, we still need you.

My mother always told me she was born to be a mother, and her actions throughout my entire life have never left me questioning that. She is one of 10 children who came to the U.S from the Dominican Republic. Just imagine having to immigrate with 10 children! It gives me anxiety just thinking about it. By the time she was the age that I am now, my mother had two children and was a few years away from her third.

She put her life on hold and didn’t finish college until I was 25. She sacrificed everything for us, including leaving family behind to relocate us to Florida. She didn’t want us to grow up in the same harsh Brooklyn streets that she did. I didn’t learn about my parents’ financial struggles until I was much older. Looking back, I can see that my mom wasn’t like the other moms I knew in central Florida. She never went shopping for herself, never got manicures at the salon, never had drinks with her friends after work. My mother was busy scraping and holding on to every penny she ever earned.

She always put us first. When I needed braces in the eighth grade, she made sure I got them. When I turned 16 and got my license, she got me a car. My mother did the same for my little brother a few years later. When I decided out of the blue that I wanted to move to Montreal to be an international student, there she was, supporting me, emotionally, physically, financially. When I moved back to New York City and hadn’t found a job yet, she again had my back, though on paper I was an adult. She has been my hero and life-saver on so many occasions. I am forever indebted to her.

My mother’s duties were to provide us with food, a safe and loving home, and a fair chance at life. She always went above and beyond those duties, willingly and happily. I think most mothers do things they don’t have to do for their kids. Women get a lot of shit for deciding not to become mothers, or deciding to have a lot of kids, or for being single mothers, working mothers or stay-at-home mothers. Those things don’t matter. What matters is that these women who are raising the future of this world are kind, patient, wise and know the meaning of unconditional love.

So with that I close my love letter to the mothers of the world. Once again, thank you for everything: the big things, the things we can’t even remember. We would be nothing without you as our backbone.

Happy Mothers Day.

 

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Jessica Salas
Part time writer, full time feminist, Jessica Salas works at a non-profit organization that advocates for individuals living with mental illness and substance abuse issues. She dabbles in screenwriting and is a contributing writer to entertainment website StageBuddy, where she is a music journalist. She has lived in central Florida and Montreal, but is now back in her hometown of Brooklyn. When Jessica is not writing or being a smartass, she is probably watching cartoons with her Boston Terrier Archie. You can follow her on twitter here: @UnHommeLikeYou