Several weeks ago, I read about a Mother’s Day essay contest hosted by Skirt!, a Charleston area women’s magazine. The basic assignment was to answer the following: “I am the woman I am today because my mother …” I clipped the page from the magazine and put it on my desk. Of course, it was inevitably buried under a pile of papers, where I unearthed it about two days before the deadline.
Finally, the day before the deadline, a Facebook post promoting the essay contest reminded me again – I either needed to write something today or forget it. So, while waiting for Kate at her gymnastics class, I started writing about how motherhood is hard. Hard for me. Hard for own mom. Probably hard at times for you too. And, yet, we can learn from the hard times, the good times, the everyday moments. I sent off the essay and figured, if nothing else, I’d put it in a Mother’s Day card for my mom. So, imagine my surprise to learn that my essay was one of the finalists.
As a finalist, I was able to participate in a Lisette L Fashion Show at the Volvo Car Open in April, and in May, all the finalists will be recognized at a luncheon. I’m honored my own mom will be able to join me at that event on May 11. You can pick up the May issue of Skirt! to read a little of each finalist’s essay. And I’m publishing mine below:
I Am Because …
If you ask my mom, she’ll probably give you a list of all the ways she thinks she failed at motherhood. That’s the way it is when you’re a mom, isn’t it? You second guess every decision. You struggle with guilt and feelings of inadequacy. You get tunnel vision on the times you lost your temper or forgot a school function. Like my own mom, I worry daily that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not being enough for my own daughter.
I’m 40 years old and my mom probably still wonders the same thing: was I enough for my daughter?
Yes, Mom, you were enough. It’s because of you I grew into the woman I am today. It’s because of you I have a beautiful life filled with accomplishments, possibilities and love.
Mom, you may focus on the faults, but I choose to focus on the many ways you shaped me. You were an example of a single mom with two kids who went to college to become a social worker. You’ve spent years helping people through incredibly difficult situations as they overcome addictions and personal crisis.
Because of you, I recognize and appreciate strong, dedicated and caring women.
You took me to Sunday school and church. You taught me bedtime prayers and the importance of reading the Bible and listening to that still small voice that guides us in our decisions.
Because of you, I can fulfill the calling laid out for me.
Mom, you encouraged me in everything. I believed I could do anything I set my mind to and, that with hard work and determination, I could conquer the world.
Because of you, I have done just that.
You instilled in me a sense of personal confidence and a value that any man worth having was one who pursued, respected and valued me.
Because of you, I have the most incredible husband. He’s loved me unconditionally and supported me for almost 17 years.
As a grandmother, you’ve demonstrated a mother’s love and what it means to cherish and adore a precious child.
Because of you, I can pause and appreciate my role not as a caretaker who schedules swim lessons and packs lunches, but as the caretaker entrusted with raising another young woman poised to take on the world.
So, thank you, Mom, for all the big and little ways you molded me, my character and my passion. For without those promptings, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.