An Open Letter to My Mom

“My Mother is so full of joy and life.

I am her child, and that is better than being the child of anyone else in the world.

– Maya Angelou

Dear Mom,

I don’t know where to begin. Its taken me over an hour to start writing this letter. I’ve always been comfortable with my writing and typing on the keyboard, but I’ll admit that I’ve been struggling with how to express my gratitude. Simply saying, “thank you,” is not enough. From teaching me how to spell my name to helping me get settled into my first apartment, you’ve given me so much and taught me so much more. On this Mother’s Day and everyday, I’m so blessed to have a mother like you and I know I’d be completely lost in this crazy world without you.

When I was a little girl, I remember following you all around the house and talking to you non-stop about my day, my drama and my far-fetched ideas and dreams — and that still hasn’t changed. I’ve always looked up to you and you’ve always been my hero. So much of who I’ve become is tangled up in who you are. I see it more and more every day — the way my mouth twists up when I’m angry, the way I fold my towels, my forgiving heart. It’s because of your strength that I always stand up for what I believe in. Every day I wear the silver bracelet you bought me that’s etched with the saying, “Whenever you feel overwhelmed…remember whose daughter you are and straighten your crown,” as a reminder that I come from a strong, beautiful, black queen.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally and supporting me even when I pushed you away. You loved me when my words and actions were completely unlovable. I remember telling you that I hated you. I screamed it from the top of my lungs and I remember where both of us were when I said it. I remember the look on your face and it still brings me to tears all these years later. Every night in my prayers, I thank God he didn’t let those words be the last ones I said to you. I’m so sorry for ever speaking something so far from the truth. I’m sorry for all of the times I fought with you, for the times I’ve let you down and for the times I stupidly chose friends, boys and other things over you. I’m grateful that our arguments always end in reconciliation and deeper understanding. More often than not, you were right all along and I was just too stubborn to listen to the truth. No matter what, you’ve never left my side and there aren’t enough words to express how appreciative I am of that.

I know that sometimes days go by and you feel unneeded or unwanted, but your hard work, sacrifices and dedication to our family do not go unnoticed. I remember all of the times you worked night-shifts and double-shifts and I noticed my dinner was always hotter than yours. I never fully understood until I got older how much you sacrificed. I got everything on my Christmas list and everything I wanted for my birthday but most importantly, you made sure I never had to worry about food, shelter or my safety. Thank you for the laundry, the housekeeping and the care when I was sick and you were sicker. Thank you for wiping my tears and giving the best hugs and kissing me on my cheek. You’re the only one who hears everything I don’t say and sees everything I try to hide. You are the most magnificent mom I could have ever asked for. Beautiful, smart, devoted, funny, caring and everything else a daughter could want.

I love you with my whole heart and I thank you for everything you’ve ever done for me and continue to do.

XOXO, Taylor

To the mothers who have lost children, to those who have lost mothers, to those with strained mother relationships, to those mothers with strained child relationships, to those who have chosen not to be mothers and to those who long to be mothers — I am thinking of you.

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