Mother's Day is this weekend, and I wanted to send you a note.
I don't want to get too emotional, too sappy. This is a weekend for happiness, celebrating our Momness, enjoying each other's company (I'm excited to hang out again this weekend!)... and who could forget Bendy Ruggles' birthday?!
BUT, I figured I owed it to you to clear the air on something. I hope you don't mind me saying it in an open forum like this... But who am I really kidding? It's not like I have a huge fanbase, a dedicated readership. Most of the people who stop by here are people who know us, who love us, who already have the back story on this.
I just want you to know that you shouldn't feel guilty.
Now I know me just saying that isn't going to help a whole lot, so let me explain a bit more in depth.
We both know you struggled with your own demons when I was growing up. In and out of the hospital, I know you always felt awful about not being there for us every single day. Not only could I hear it in your voice when we spoke on the phone back then, understand it from your words when you told me how much you missed me... but you've also vocalized it to me as an adult, when we've had our deep heart-to-hearts.
I know you feel like you failed us in some way by taking care of yourself when you needed it. I know you felt like you needed to be there for homework help and carpools and sleepovers. I know it nags at you, even today, years later, when we've come so far, become so close. Not many people can say that they consider their Mom a best friend, someone they can tell anything to... But I can, and I am more than grateful for this. I only hope that someday Ilyana will look to me for advice, will feel like she can open up to me like I always knew I could with you.
But there are a couple of things that I learned when you were going through this battle that have helped me through my own struggles as an adult- through the toughest of times that I've had, and I want you know what they are.
I want you to know that you taught me these things, whether or not you intended to.
The first of them is this:
No matter how much you struggle... No matter how hard things get... No matter how MANY obstacles you face, there is always room to laugh. To be silly. To make up songs and ridiculous nicknames... To seize the day, have fun and ignore those heartaches. To skip school. To FORGET about those responsibilities, those scary moments, those fights against whatever it may be, and just live. Just enjoy it. For a moment.
But the most important thing you taught me, when you were far away, fighting for your life on your own and we were missing each other terribly? It's this:
LIFE is worth fighting for.
Giving up is not an option.
And this. This one thing? It's what I've hung on to. What I've told countless numbers of my friends when they call me, upset about whatever it is that they're struggling with.
It's what I've known in the deepest part of my OWN heart when I was scared and struggling, not knowing how we would make it bringing a little girl into this world with nothing to our names. It's what I believe has kept me from ever getting depressed- my own belief, the true knowledge that life is good, and worth every struggle. It's why I have always stayed positive, always looked on the bright side (hey, they even gave me an award with that title in 8th grade- "person who always looks on the bright side"- and that was way back when you were still away) and always faced what I needed to head-on. It's my truth. My biggest secret for staying happy, the closest I can come to knowing the meaning of life. It's just to live it. To enjoy it. To fight for it with all you have, every inch of your soul. It's worth it. It all is in the end.
I cherish our time together, and I want you to know that you can let go of that guilt now. I want you to know that I was never angry or upset. In fact, I was and still am grateful that you took care of yourself... Because I could never have had such a fulfilling life if you hadn't been around.
Who would I have shared so many moments with- graduations, birthdays, being out in the mobs black friday shopping (which, I hope you know, is now a tradition), vacations, the birth of my beautiful daughter, and, of course, the fuckin' chicken... They just wouldn't have been the same if you had made another choice way back when, if you had somehow decided that being there for those sleepovers, carpools, homework, tests, and games that you would miss was more important than the future. More important than fighting for yourself, for your life. Scratch that- for OUR life.
I love you so deeply. Thank you for teaching me how to hang on.
How to Make Sweet Tea by Julie
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