Dear Mom

Mother’s Day 2015

Dear Mom,

Thank you for sacrificing so much of your life to make a better one for me. I saw you patch the holes in your stockings with nail polish. This was right after you gifted me a chance to travel with the swim team to Mexico. I know we did not have the money, but somehow you made it happen. I am not sure I ever really shared my gratitude for that trip and every other gift that was given with love.

I guess I was a heavy sleeper—I still am. I remember the Saturday morning wake-up calls with pans crashing together in the kitchen. It was my Saturday alarm clock: there were chores that needed to be done. It was frustrating for me because I knew other kids my age did not have to get up so early, but now I get it. It was just the two of us and I needed to share in the workload. You have no idea how that has translated into my adult life. Thank you!!!

The early morning drive down to the lake was scary. I really thought you had lost your mind, driving in the dark. It was only when we walked down to the pier and sat with our legs dangling did I get it. As we watched the sun rise, you said with great sensitivity and intensity, “Remember the details. Life is beautiful and it is short. We only have moments – remember the details.”

Thank you for letting me sleep with you till I was 13 years old. I still remember the sound of your heart beating and your gentle breathing at night. It brought me more comfort than you can ever imagine. You never made me go to my own bed. You trusted that I would make the move on my own, and I did. Thank you for loving me enough to let me stay.

Your standards were high in everything you did, and I never thought I was good enough at the time. Your favorite expression was, “If you can’t do it right, then don’t do it all.” Although it felt like you were being hard on me at the time, it drove me to do better at everything I took on. It was a beautiful compliment to my competitive spirit. I know now that you knew it would inspire me and not derail me; you were right. And just for the record, I spent years practicing folding towels and sheets just like you did, and I think I got it!

You simply amazed and inspired me with your response to your diagnosis. The lung cancer that lived inside of you would change you, but not define you. You stepped into your treatment with a powerful intention to heal your body through determination and mindfulness. You taught me what power and grace looked like in the face of death, and this was the best gift you could have ever shared.

I am so sorry that I was not there to say goodbye to you before you left this earth. I know you know I was in the waiting room, and I know you know that you were the one who gave the order that, if you were in a coma, I could not come in. I know you know how hard that was for me to understand. I spent many years not understanding why you would keep me from you. And then one day I got it. At my deepest core, I know that you loved me enough to not let me see you in those final hours of breathing machines and your final fight. I know that your intentions to keep me away were born in pure and unconditional love — in your knowing of me, and what I would remember. I think you knew I would remember the details. Your decision has left me with only memories of you laughing in the kitchen, smiling when you got your crossword puzzle right, whistling while you were in the golf cart, and singing in the backyard while you were gardening.  Yes Mamma. I do remember the details.

You need to know I see you in all three of my children. Ethan has your frame, your coloring, and your eyes. Hannah has your drive, creativity, and feisty nature. Sean was named after you; he has your athletic ability and talent for singing. When he sings Frankie Vallie’s My Eyes Adored You, it brings a wave of emotion over my body. They all carry a part of you inside of them, and I am so grateful.

I am married to a man who is my soulmate and the best friend that I have ever known. He loves me wholeheartedly and treats me like no other. He holds me to my highest good, encourages me to share my gifts with the world, and is always a safe place for me to fall. He continues to show me what love looks like every day—just like you did.

And I miss you. There is not a day that passes that you are not a part of my thoughts or actions. I know I am the woman I am today because of the lessons you taught me, and moreso in how you consistently showed up in my life. You were unfaltering in your love and support of me, and I feel so blessed to have you be the one who blazed my trail.

I am grateful and humbled beyond measure to be your daughter. Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you to the moon and back.

Carolyn Lebanowski

About the Author | Carolyn Lebanowski

C.L. is a student of life who practices gratitude daily and believes that love never fails. She trusts that living a life that is authentic and aligned with spiritual truths will bring with it endless days of power and possibility.

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