The truth about motherly love
Open Letter to My Mother
It's gonna be a year since you left us mom. I want to honor you by sharing this letter with all moms who feel they are not good enough. I want to remind them of how precious their motherly love is although very often they feel that they are not enough, just as you did.
I'm sorry mom that I never wrote this letter earlier for you to be able to read, but I hope you were able to feel my love regardless of how stingy with words I've been. Although I may have never told you or showed you how much you meant to me, your love is something that carried me through life. Even, now after you are gone, mom, your legacy, your love, stays with me and makes me who I am.
Your motherly love was enough in spite of the fact that you were not perfect
Mom, one thing that strikes me about you is how much you used to do for our family and me, and yet you never felt as if you are good enough. I know this because you would tell me how you wish that you were a stay-at-home mom so that you could give us more attention and affection.
You also told me once that you felt guilty for being absent minded when I was chatting with you. You were doing something in the kitchen, and I would always ask you questions and start up conversations.
Do you want to know a secret? I was quite mischievous. Although I knew that you were overwhelmed, I would start up conversations with you about trivial things, just to mess with you. It was what they call it "an attention-seeking behavior."
I played with your sense of guilt, but I didn't know that it would have such tremendous consequences. My intent was not to make you feel permanently guilty. I just wanted to play with you at that very moment.
Please know that you gave us so much regardless of the fact that you were working, or didn't always listen to me attentively. I always knew that you did your best. Even when we argued, I never questioned your motherly love.
Memories of your love stay with me and carry me through life
My memories of our interactions are vivid. I can remember the air temperatures, smells, colors, and textures, during these precious moments. You may think that you did nothing special, but you have no idea how much these "ordinary moments" meant to me. These memories are are a part of my being, and it feels that they give me the structure of who I am.
The excitement of seeing you and fun we had together
Do you remember how I would visit you during your break at work, and you would buy me a little treat? I remember the excitement, feeling my heart beat faster while getting closer to your office. It was somehow nice to see you again, although I'd seen you that morning before you left for work.
Remember when you would be cooking how I would mischievously pull the ties of your wrap dress, and you would need to wash and dry your hands so you can tie them again. You were very tolerant. I guess you enjoyed our exchange too.
Oh, and what to speak when you would tuck us in at night? I remember being quite old to be tucked in, but I would still yell for you to come to my room to get 'ljubac (kiss). You would kiss me and turn off the lights. There were the variety of kisses. Some were playful, some are gentle, and some are loud smooches.
Even when you became sick and couldn't talk anymore, you were able to kiss me. Only, this time you were in bed and I was leaning over to get my kiss. You would lift your head and kiss me so softly several times as long as my cheek would be there while I was leaning over you. These are my last memories of you, mom, your soft kisses. In the end, you couldn't communicate anything else, but you love.
Oh, I almost forgot. Do you remember our Saturdays and Sundays? I can't explain enough to you how cherished and loved these memories make me feel even now. I'm sorry that I was a savage who couldn't truly appreciate it then. These memories still make my heart feel warm. You would get up early, go out to a grocery shop, and buy whatever you needed for making the most fantastic breakfast.
You made us yummy things characteristic to our family. There are different ranges of things that included pura (something like polenta), masnica (Bosnian filo dough pie), lepinja (Bosnian type of bread), ustipci (Bosnian doughnuts) palacinci (crapes), kljukusa (Bosnian pen-fried bread soaked in garlicky yogurt), and so on. I remember waking up with a smell of all those yummy things. You would make things that you couldn't make on work days.
There are many memories. And, look how mundane they seem to be, but these small moments made a significant impact.
I need you to know that I don't resent you for not being what I would consider a cool mom back then. You didn't have enough money to buy me whatever I wanted. I also felt that you didn't understand me during my teen years. But, none of that mattered because remember these precious small and big gestures of motherly love that was always available to me.
Even when our relationship was complicated, you never withdrew your love
Of course, there were times when we didn't get along. We were quite different in so many ways. There are times when I wasn't so impressed by you. I thought you were weak. I thought that you would never stand up for yourself. Seeing you self-sacrifice all the time, made me not want to be like you. Now, I wonder now how hard this must've been for you.
You gave your best self to me, and I didn't appreciate you. This was probably disheartening for you, but you still gave your love freely. And, I'm sure there were times when you were mad at me. I was not the easiest child. You never gave up on your love for me. You never calculated. You gave your love freely even when you didn't get me.
And, there were many times when you didn't get me. We had different ways of looking at things. I thought I was smarter than you. God, how grandiose I was? You must've had some good self-esteem to be able to love me when I was so rebellious and self-righteous.
There were times when you felt helpless I think. You wondered at times what it is that I needed. You thought that my friends talked me into being rebellious. At this time you felt that I was perhaps closer to my friends than you, and that probably hurt you. But, mom, I want you to know that your motherly love was always noted. In spite of all these emotional ups and downs with you, I always knew you'd had my back.
Your free motherly love enabled me to feel safe to rebel and be a strong person
Mom, I never felt the danger of being emotionally abandoned by you no matter how complicated our relationship was during those years. After studying psychology, now I know that this kind of rebellion is developmentally appropriate. It helps children develop a sense of self.
Mum, know that I didn't take your love for granted, but I had a very independent spirit. I guess your love was there to sustain me while I was on my quest to feel autonomous and empowered. If it wasn't for your love, I couldn't be such a strong woman.
Being different from you made me learn how to appreciate you
Maybe thinking that you were week gave me the determination to be strong. But, now I know you were not weak. You were just different. You sacrificed because of love. It's not that you sought love and sacrificed to get it. You had love and, you sacrificed to give it. Love was such an essential part of your identity. And you loved me. I know it. Your motherly love never seized even when I was difficult.
You always stood up heroically for others. I remember when dad was arrested during the war, how you fought for him. I also know the stories from your work how you stood up for an underdog. And, yet I thought you were weak.
Although I didn't feel understood by you at times, I know you could "feel" me. When I was in college, I broke up with my boyfriend, lost a lot of weight and became depressed. I don't recall complaining much to you, but I remember you coming to visit me for a few days. I guess you did understand me after all. Perhaps I couldn't see it due to my black and white thinking, which is natural for teens.
You rode a train for twelve hours with bags full of food that you made for me. Food is one of the ways you showed your love. Those were all the things that I loved the most, and that is not so easy to make. Similarly, whenever I would come to visit from America, you would make my favorite filo, krompirusa (potato stuffed filo) and wait for me at the airport. We would find a picnic spot and eat together.
I hope I can be like you and be able to give love as you did
And, what makes me sad though is that you still feel that you didn't do enough. I want to let you know that you gave us unlimited love. Now when I'm mature to appreciate that love, I can still feel loved just based on these memories. of you. I want you to know that what you think didn't give me didn't hurt me.
I don't spend my days thinking of memories of me being alone at home after school, but rather thinking of how I'm going to visit you at your work, and my heart becomes excited. It's almost like you love has a telepathic power, mom.
When you left us last September, it was very hard for me. I still can't believe that I will never see you, kiss you, or get those soft kisses from you. But, that moment when you died, I had a profound realization of your love. I was just then able to understand your essence, love. It feels as if you've released it for me to hold onto it and don't forget it. I feel blessed to be loved by you. What can be more precious in this world?
And, I've also come to the realization that you accepted me for who I am, being different from you. I think I heard you during your funeral smile while saying, "That's my Dalila," when I didn't want to stand in the back of the procession when the funeral officials requested me.
So many years I've been trying to distinguish myself from you and be different from you, but now I hope that one day I can be a little bit like you and be able to give love as you did, mom.
Motherly love doesn't mean that you never get mad
There are so many memories of you and your love. Maternal love is, unfortunately, a concept that made many moms feel inadequate when they think about it. They often think that their love is not good enough. They feel guilty for being a regular person who has ups and downs with their children.
I hope that this open letter to you will empower all modern moms to feel valuable regardless of how their children may treat them. Your motherly love is immeasurable, and theirs is too. They may be different from you. They may not be so virtuous in the kitchen, but they may have their own ways in which they connect with their children.
No matter how they feel about themselves or what they think of themselves, their motherly love is the best that they can offer to their children. The only thing I wish was different is that you were confident about what you gave to us. This would enable me to appreciate you sooner.
There are many challenges that mothers face today. Sometimes your anxiety may get in the way of enjoying your motherhood.
I hope this letter will empower you to know how valuable you are
If you are an accomplished woman who overcompensates because you never feel like you are good enough, I can help you align with your authentic values, so you can feel worthy, enjoy your life, and be emotionally connected to your children and partner.
Schedule a free consult to see what you need to work on to be able to enjoy your motherhood.