“We decided that we like dad better than you.” My siblings and I were sitting in the car some years ago, discussing which parent we liked better. Nothing in particular had prompted this conversation, but we settled on dad and I decided to say this to my mom. At the time I didn’t realise the effect these words would have on her. Her face fell and she responded with something simple like an “Okay” and stayed silent as she continued to drive.
Why would we say this? My mom is the bad guy. How could we not like dad better. The guy who would buy us whatever we wanted for food, who carried us upstairs, and spoiled us in general. Not to say my dad wasn’t tough, but he’s a big teddy bear and being especially hard on us wasn’t his forte. My mom had to express disappointment when we messed up, go to the principals office when we really fucked up, and whip us into shape so we’d be independent adults I wouldn’t have made it through college if she wasn’t so great at being a mom.
Even today, my mom always has to do the hard things at work. She makes the decisions to keep the business afloat, has to hire people, fire people, tries to save money, and make money, be friendly, answer questions, train staff, and be constantly on top of her game. I’m amazed by her skills and perseverance every day. She works harder than anyone I know, and it’s terrifying.
So this Mother’s Day I’d like to apologise for the time I said I like dad better than you. In the last seven years or so I’ve realised just how important you are to me. You were there to teach the hard lessons in my childhood, and you’re the support system as I try to be a real adult. You’ll always take my calls when I have anxiety attacks, no matter how busy you are. You’ll turn to me for work advice, respect my ideas and input, and we’ve become a dynamic hardware duo. I can never thank you enough through words so I’ll continue through actions, because nothing I say will ever fully capture the love I feel for you. Not everyone is half as lucky as I am to have a mother like you. Since you’re not here right now, I’ll have a beer in your honour. Love you lots mama bear.