I wanted to do another “reflective” post again for your birthday but one that wasn’t so damn depressing like last year. Holy shit, break out the razor blades and the Billie Holiday right?
When I look back on my childhood, it’s easy to remember all the bad things. Probably because in reality? It wasn’t that damn bad. But I like to fall back on it in times of weakness, when I can’t just admit that I’m being completely dumb about something and it’s all my own fault.
I remember when you were first teaching me to drive. How we would drive just around the house at first, and man that first time, I nearly put you through the wind shield because I kept tapping the break. Gas. Break. Gas. Break. But you withstood it. Sure you cussed a little bit and scared me just a little because of it, but we were able to laugh about it later.
When I could drive, I remember how you insisted I learn how to drive a stick. “You could end up like me, totally dependant on yourself to get around, never EVER assume you’ll have a man to chauffeur you around and you’ll never have to drive a stick.” you’d say.
So you taught me and I learned. And I’m damn proud of it too. I’m amazed that there are still women out there who don’t know how to drive a stick shift. (Girls. You’re making us all look bad. I promise it’s not that hard.)
I also remember how you taught me to be independent in other aspects. How to rely solely on myself financially and spiritually, basically at life in general. Even now when I have a husband who is completely dependable, I know that if anything happened to him, I could easily make it on my own.
You taught me to stand up for myself. To never be afraid to speak my mind. But at the same time, how to act like a lady. I know the “watch your language” aspect never really stuck, and I’m sorry about that. But I am working on it! God damn it.
You also taught me to try new things, especially food. I remember the first time you took me to eat Chinese food. And Italian food, and Mexican food. You weren’t much of a cook yourself, (which you readily admit) but you always had good taste in restaurants. When Kim proved resistant to anything but American and later moved out, you worked extra hard to make sure I could have an open mind about other ethnic foods. It didn’t mean you loved her any less, you just basically learned from your mistakes with her and tried to do better with me. I can respect that. You were a single mother doing the best you knew how.
I remember how you always gave me a curfew. How I had to have a chaperone on all dates until I turned 16. And I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without your permission first. And you had to know WHERE and WHO I was going with too. At the time I resented it. I felt so “restricted”. So “confined”. But I look back now and I’m so proud of you as a parent. That structure made me feel secure at a time when everything else in my life seemed upended. It took me a long time and a lot of growing up to realize that. Thanks for raising me right.
I know that we go weeks without speaking to each other. I know that at times our communication even seems a bit strained. You and I both go through our “little phases”. I get my quirkiness from you, no doubt. But I know that anytime I need you, you’ll be there. You’ll always be my “mommy.” I’ll always be your “baby.” I’m old enough to appreciate you always calling me that. I love you more than all the breaths I’ll ever take.