I can not imagine what it must have been like to welcome an 8-year-old child into your home. Especially one that came to you broken, hurt and unsure of what a family was. A little girl with too much loss in her young life and a maturity that should have been reserved for someone many years older. The adoption was beyond a decision to expand your family. It was the saving of a life that was on the brink of being lost.
I remember you then, as beautiful as you are now. Strong, confident, calm and consistent. You had your hands full with me. Probably a lot fuller than you ever thought possible. I tested you almost every day. But you resolved to give me a better life and aimed to accomplish that goal with a determination unmatched by many.
I remember the first time you made dinner while I was there. You stood in the largest kitchen I had ever seen, that beautiful small smile on your lips that always made me feel safe, multi-tasking and creating like I had never seen a mother do. We sat down at a table, napkins, silverware and water already placed, and all I remember is mashed potatoes and not being able to take my eyes off of you. I watched everything you did from the way you drank from your water glass to the way you mixed your corn with the potatoes. You became my idol and my inspiration right then and there.
Through the years I threw challenge after challenge at you, never understanding the love you truly had for me. I was more than a difficult child, I was a disrespectful one. No matter what I did, how I hurt you or how I embarrassed you, you stood by me, arms and ears open, to welcome me back into the folds of your unconditional love.
As I grew and went out on my own, pursuing my life with the carefree freedom that only comes with knowing I can always come home, I often think of you and how you would handle things. I yearn to be as graceful under pressure, as kind and giving without hesitation and as open hearted as you were the day you took in that sassy, scared little 8-year-old to call your own.
I am now the mother of an 8-year-old daughter and often look at this growing, lively, opinionated jewel and wonder if I could start from right now and parent her well. Could I open my home and my heart to a child that someone got a head start on? Could I go to bed at night with a stranger in my home that did not come from me?
Because of you, I think I could. Because of you, I know I could.
This open letter to you, my mother, is to let you know that even though it may seem like I only look at things from my point of view, I now see your side as clearly as I can. What you went through to get me, to raise me and to love me as your own is truly amazing.
You will always be my idol and my inspiration.