For The Love of Her Child

Mom Carly Lewis & Hayley Lewis

This is an open letter to my mother. She is the smallest woman I know with the biggest heart that I have ever seen.

When I was sixteen, we were walking through the mall and I saw a screaming child on the ground next to a disgruntled, tired looking mother. I turned to you and I said, “I am sorry for ever acting that way. “ You laughed, grabbed my arm and said thank you, telling me that you loved me no matter what kind of shenanigans I get myself into, young or old. This is your favourite story to tell, aside from the time a mannequin fell on me (by my own hand), and I am happy to have given it to you.

I am messy, combative, opinionated, and sometimes really foul. Other times I am sad, tired, worried and distressed about life. Most times I am cheerful, chatty, smart and witty. Every single one of those times I can see you in myself. But it’s hard during the rougher times to see that you actually love me when we start to spar. It’s one of the bits of my personality that I am not particularly fond of. My sister once told me that we are too alike and that’s why we fight. We are reflections of each other. I can be rude and a know-it-all and you can be obsessive about cleanliness while furiously trying to organize our lives. I sometimes wonder how you can love me unconditionally when I can be the worst but through those awful moments you are there. I can see it when you come home with something for me or my sister, just to make us happy. I see it when you make a new meal that we love. I see it in all the little things that you don’t think I see at all.

I am an adult now, or so I have been told. According to this, I should not need you as much anymore. I should be able to live my life however I please because I have been given the tools to do so through years of shoddy public education and post-secondary institutions. You have taught me how to cook, clean and use the buddy system if I am out late. You still talk to me when I am drunk and pick me up if I need it. You do not judge. You show concern for me and though I sigh with disdain, secretly I am happy that you still worry about me. Age doesn’t matter. I will always need your advice and concern, even if I am fifty and you tell me about menopause.

The life we have lived together since I was born has not been ideal. It’s been hard and, at its worst, almost unbearable. Your strength stems from this immeasurable amount of love you have for my sister and I. I don’t know how you can do it every day. Our family is a little nucleus that seems impermeable. People rarely get in, even if they are part of our supposed actual family. But the experiences we’ve had give us the right to proceed through life with caution. I suppose under these circumstances there is a hyper-intense amount of love (and concern) passed around, and it is mostly by you.

This is my letter to you. You love me and I don’t know why. I love you but it doesn’t even compare to how much you love me. Thank you for that. I don’t think I can say it enough. All I know is that if I can love someone, a child or a companion, half as much as you love me, I’ll be lucky. You are the most wonderful person I know and, though I had no choice in the situation, I am happy you had me so that I can have you in my life. Love comes in all kinds of forms and though you try to convince me that all parents must love their kids, I am still not so sure. Yours is the only one that matters to me. Thank you.