My mom and I shared a close relationship throughout my entire childhood and even as I became a teenager, my mom was someone I loved and trusted completely and whose company I truly enjoyed. After my brothers and sister moved out, there was a period of time when it was just my mom and I living in the house. I felt like that time we spent just the two of us really solidified our relationship, not only as mother and daughter, but as a team.
But then I met a boy, I started hanging out with a new group of friends and things began to change. I thought I had irreparably damaged our relationship when one afternoon I had to tell her that I'd been lying. I'd done something very serious (and seriously stupid) and had found myself in a position that even she couldn't help me out of. I will never forget the look in her eyes that day. I was certain she could never love me the way she used to, not after what I had done.
But here's the thing about mothers: no matter what you do, they still love you. That summer isn't the only time I've deeply hurt my mom. I saw that same heartsick look in her eyes when I stopped attending the LDS church and again when she confronted me with the knowledge that I was living with my boyfriend. But each time I thought that maybe I'd gone too far, that this was the time she'd had enough, instead I found her reaching out to me with open arms and the kind of love that only a mother can posses.
Instead of disowning me for leaving the church, she tenderly shared her testimony with me. Instead of threatening to cut me off unless I moved out of my boyfriend's apartment, she invited him to Easter dinner at her house. And those experiences, perhaps more than anything else, have taught me what being a mother is all about - loving without reservation or condition, even if it means loving while your heart is breaking.
Over the years, we've only gotten closer and having kids of my own, well, nothing has strengthened our relationship more than that. My mom is my confidant, my sounding board, one of my best friends and my biggest supporter. Well, except for maybe that rebel boyfriend I once lived with... who has now been my husband for almost five years. He's pretty supportive, too.
My mom is one of only a few people who truly understands me, and even though we still have our differences, she really loves me... not just a little bit - a ridiculous, unimaginable, and sometimes undeserved amount. There's nothing I can do to make her stop loving me! I know that now, and it is my sincere hope that one day I'll be able to provide my own baby girls with that same knowledge and security.
Mom, I'm sorry that some of my choices over the years have caused you so much pain. I could never thank you enough for being there for me through it all and showing me time and time again just how fierce a mother's love is.
P.S. I love you most.