Do you remember being a little kid, all snuggled up in bed in your printed PJ’s at night, and already supposed to be sound asleep? But right when you hear those familiar footsteps nearing the door, you shut your eyes and pretend to be sleeping. Then a warm shadow cast by your little nightlight moves swiftly to tuck you in and fix your blanket, leaves nothing but a trace of a gentle kiss and slips out of the room.
My mom has never failed to “tuck me in” to bed for as long as I could remember.
Before tucking me in when I was four, she’d do this funny thing to my chin that I used to get a laugh out of, blow on my stomach, and tickle me to death (or sleep). When I was eight with a burning temperature, she’d waltz right in with a thermometer on one hand and strawberry-flavored antibiotics on the other. When I was twelve and I’d mumble my goodnight and tune hers out with my earphones blasting music. When I was sixteen and she’d catch me trying on prom dresses and confiscate my phone. When we argue about boys, friends, plans, and pimples and when she wakes up to find me still pulling an all-nighter, and I’ll pretend I don’t know she’s mad at me out of concern just so I can fight for my way.
My mom and I fight almost just as much as we talk.
We’ve never had the ideal mother-daughter relationship I grew up being envious about. I saw it on TV and I saw it among many friends. I grew up wanting a mother who was sweet and warm. I used to wanna hear more “I love you’s” than “do this” and “don’t do that” or the sound of my name to be echoed by a bunch of hurtful sentences. I wanted a lenient mom who would let me do whatever I want. I wanted to go on dates, parties, and trips, then come home and tell her all about it. I wanted to be able to tell her anything and everything without the constant fear of getting in trouble. I wanted a mom who trusted me as much as she should trust that perhaps she’s done a pretty a-okay-job raising a kid that won’t get into as much trouble as she imagines. I wanted to be able to cry in front of her instead of hearing the words, “I told you so”. I wanted my little achievements to speak louder than whenever she’d pick on my little faults and flaws. I wanted a mom who was openly proud of me. And she knows this.
The same way that I know she wishes I was more obedient and demure, more passive and practical, more domesticated and simple, three inches taller and ten times stronger.
What she doesn’t know on the other hand, is that I look up to her.
It may come as a surprise to her and to everyone that’s known of our Freaky Friday tandem that I’ve somewhat grown to admire her for our differences. We’re so different and because of that, because of her, I have known what it’s like to be whole.
Ten to fifteen years from now when my friends are all having baby showers thrown here and there, I’ll probably still be scared of the thought of having kids. I know it sounds a little weird and bad, but a lot of it has to do with how I fear I’ll never be anywhere near as good as my mom is at being a SUPERMOM.
Sure, she’s not as sweet and warm as I thought all moms should be, but she’s a pinnacle of strength and grace. I’ll always wonder if I’ll be able to do what she’s done. I don’t know if I can never be more than five minutes late when I pick up my kids from school. I don’t know if I can cook six meals a week and have specialities like roast chicken, Toblerone bread pudding, the best spaghetti in the world, and pineapple Christmas ham. I don’t know if I can look at my kids and know in a snap if they’re lying and memorize the stories behind every scar and wound. I don’t know if I can take care of so many people the way my mother so selflessly built her life around her parents, her husband, and her three children. I don’t know if I can build a home the way she has, make a family what it is, and be the rock that carries it.
My mom isn’t warm, in fact my dad teases her about being cold-blooded sometimes. But my mom truly is a flame. She’s taught me where strong and smart will get you even if it had to be the hard way. She’s the purest and simplest example of unconditional love. She’s the flame of the family and it wouldn’t even be considered home without her loud echoing voice and warm touches. And I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for her.
A couple of years ago I asked my mom why I still have a nightlight in my room because I was old enough to sleep in the dark. I thought she kept it on because she was worried that I’d be afraid. But she told me she keeps it on because she wants to be able to see me when she checks up on me in the middle of the night.
Till this day my nightlight has always stayed on.
Thank you for being my nightlight and so much more, Mom.💕 Happy Mother’s Day! I’ll try to sleep earlier.
Here’s a clip of one of my favorite mom-movie moments. It’s a movie that celebrates moms out there and it really gets the water works going.