Thursday, May 14, 2009

Learning from Your Mother

A fellow blogger, Affrodite, posted a contest to win the book "Letters to a Young Sister" by Hill Harper. I have been pondering the idea for the longest time and on the eve of my commencement, I thought I should enter.

The journey to be able to write this letter to my mother was long. It took a lot of soul searching. A lot of talking and learning from life's mishaps to be able to understand and appreciate my mother.

Our relationship has not always been a good one. In high school, she and I battled. Mostly over the whole boy issue. I wanted to date them. She wanted to pretend they didn't exist. Some of the things she did to try to eradicate them from my life were extreme, but they were done out of love. In the event that I have my own daughter, I will go about things a bit different. I will do so because I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of someone who trusts you, but not the world I lived in.

There is no need to go into details about what happened between my mother and I. I now know that most of what she did was because she felt lost in her own mind or, worse, backed into a corner. Maybe it's clique, but if not for those horrible things, I would not be who I am today. I would not be able to appreciate my accomplishments. I would not know what I know today if it weren't for what I have been through.

I am 24 years old. Tomorrow, I graduate for the second time in three years. I have a Masters Degree in English and a Bachelors Degree in English and Women's and Gender Studies. I am a teacher. It took me only 24 years to find and secure a job I love.

I have survived. I will continue to survive and show other young women that they, too, will be alright.

I love my life. I am very fortunate and I could not have done any of this without my mother.

Dear Mom,

Thanks for these last couple of years. Growing up, our relationship was sorted, muddled and wrought with miscommunication and misunderstandings. If it weren’t for the fact that I chose to go to grad school and, subsequently, had to move home, I would have continued to believe you were the person I made you in my head. Instead, we talked. We struggled. We learned things about ourselves and each other that only the strain of abject poverty can reveal. Thanks for being there to pick up the pieces when I finally realized that you are human. Though flawed and imperfect you are the greatest gift to me. Thank you for being my mother.

Your daughter,