But it’s something I regret even more as a daughter.
I wasn’t able to find the proper words that day to tell you what I should have said. I was elated and ecstatic—but not as eloquent as I would have liked. The words bubbled within me like a pot of hot soup. But they never met the surface.
And I didn’t have the chance to thank you.
I wanted to thank you for never missing one of my dance recitals as I was growing up. From when I was three years old to eighteen, you made it to every show. Even though each and every year I performed in three shows, and each and every year those three shows were exactly the same, you were always there. I felt your presence in the audience. It stuck with me.
I wanted to thank you for smiling at me like I’m perhaps the best thing that ever graced the face of the earth. I met you once for dinner. I was in my late 20s. I wasn’t living with you anymore and I came to meet you and Dad at a restaurant. I walked in and glanced through the busy, loud crowd of happily dining people. I saw your face as it turned to look at me. I saw your face break into a giant smile. You were sincerely and wholly happy just because it was me. Just because I was there.
On the day of my wedding, I should have said thank you for never talking to me about your body in a negative way. For not teaching me a single thing about feeling ugly or fat or not good enough. For showing me how to be confident. And for valuing my talent, my brains, my ability over my looks. And thank you for also telling me often how beautiful I was. I needed that, too.
Thank you for running your fingers through my hair to lull me to sleep when I was sick. For leaving little notes in my paper bag lunches. For wanting to come home by 5 o’clock every night for dinner. For making me sandwiches just the way I like them. For knowing exactly when I needed a hug. For reading book after book after book to me. I learned to love reading right within your lap.
And now that I’m grown, thank you for helping to raise my daughters. Thank you for giving them all the same phenomenal things you gave me. Thank you for wanting to be a huge part of their lives. Thank you for letting me talk and talk and talk about them without ever getting tired of the stories.
Thank you for forever helping me. When I’m sick and can’t take care of my own kids. When I need to meet a deadline. When I’m running out of time to do laundry. Your love is steadfast and I feel it in everything you do.
When I got married that day, as I walked down the aisle, a moment was captured in a photo. I was staring up at the altar, my face crumpled into happy tears as I watched my husband-to-be. You are also in that photo. Your face is also crumpled into tears.
You’re watching me.
All I ever had to do was just be.
Life was just that simple.
And I get it now. With children of my own, I understand you. I appreciate you much more—every grand gesture and every little moment you gave me. I’m sorry I couldn’t find the words that day. But I want you to know it, to feel it, without a shadow of a doubt.
Thank you for just being, too, Mom.
Heather Dixon is a writer, copywriter and content gal. She’s also a Mom to three highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her), a runner and a big time Judy Blume fan. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Pregnant Chicken, Scary Mommy and the Mabelhood. Follow her at heatherdixon.ca, or on Facebook and Twitter.
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