May 10, 2015

A letter to my mother on Mother’s Day


Do you remember when you used to fight with me? I would say I love you more, and you would say, “that’s not possible” or something along the lines of that. It didn’t make sense to me, me so small in the world, depending on you for so much. In reality, you were the first one I learned to love, you were the one and only love in my life at the time.

One afternoon I hid behind the hallway doorway peeking into the kitchen while you cooked. I was crying. I told you I would hate you, and you told me it didn’t matter, you would love me right back. I imagine this hate was due to you limiting my access to something I wanted, but I thought if I tried hard enough, I could go at least three days hating you. So I watched. I watched you cook, I watched you unworried of my hate plans. It must have hit me hard right there. You not caring about my hate. You didn’t care, because it didn’t matter to you, you loved me right back. As I remember back, i think my so called hate must have lasted all of 10 minutes. It didn’t stick. I came in and hugged you and went back to my day. This day is how I learned to love the way I do today. This is how I felt true love for the first time, unconditional love. Thank you for teaching me that.

A few hours, plus a decade or so later, I snuck up on you once again. Different house, different hallway. It must have been 2am or so. You were in your sewing room. Do you remember? You had a full time job during the day, and it was a few weeks before school would start. With five kids you were determined to see that we were dressed well, in our desired style as the school year started. You were working on four picky girls outfits torn out of the recent Seventeen magazines. It must have been around 12-20 different pieces of clothing if I do the math. You were frustrated, you were tired, you were determined. There is a chance I didn’t even bother you. I just watched, then went back to bed. I hope I wasn’t thankless, but in case I was, thank you. Thank you not because of how cute I might have looked in my bubble skirt the next day, but thank you for teaching me about hard work. Thank you for teaching me how to finish a task no matter the effort.

Now that I am older, you are not my whole world. I now love friends, my husband, my own kids, my siblings. It feels sad that you got pushed to the side like you did, but I know that is how it was meant to go. I love you still, even if I don’t call you enough. I promise to call today.

Truth is, it isn’t that I am a better mom because of you. That goes without saying. The truth is, I am a better person because of you. I am a better everything because of you. So now that I have kids of my own, I wonder some days about that love fight. I hug my kids tight, and they are my heart. I devise plans to never let them grow up and leave me, and find others they love as much as they love me. I love them so so much, and I am their everything. I now know how it felt for you, and why you fought to hold the winning love. It is a strong deep love that I couldn’t understand as a child. And now I can say without a doubt “I love you more, mom” More than anything.



 baby blanketbaby at beach mom kissing baby at beach mom and toddler beach mom kissing baby seagul baby tickles

  1. Carli

    Tears, Noel. So much beauty. Please write more. Don’t be afraid to write more– we need your words! Your heart!! Xo

    Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Gretchen

    Noel, This is the most beautiful, wonderful tribute a mom could have. Thank you for all you have become, all you do and for inspiring me to keep going. Some days I just want to give up but when i get words of encouragement from the Lord through others it makes it all worth while. Love, Mom

    PS I love these photos of you and Kellen!

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