Dear Mom,

I am a strong-willed kid.

Obstinate, even.

I have been tiresome.

I probably still am tiresome.

I go my own way and you watch silent: tear-stricken.  Like that first day of kindergarten.

Back then, perhaps, I didn’t understand your grief.  I was doing things myself.  I was doing them well.  Perhaps I was overzealous in seeking praise.  I thought it should please you to see me grow.

Oh, but now I have children of my own.  And that same driven fierce independence that I used on you, I use on them.  I teach Sedryn to roll both ways because I weary of flipping him back over.  I teach Bronwyn, patiently and repeatedly, to come when I call.  I teach Aeralind to keep her self-control, to ask without whining, and to accept no’s with grace.  And soon they learn.

I understand now your grief (if only a little since we are made of different stuff).  How one moment I am needed to solve things, needed to teach, needed to sooth and the next moment they’ve nailed it and moved on.  And, while I’m so encouraged to see them master things, well, it’s one less thing I get the privilege of teaching them.

And if I look briefly they’ve grown up and left my lessons.

Oh, but if I sit and study them, they’re like lizards.  Their spirits all scaled-over like a dragons.  Multifaceted.  Some scales theirs alone: their personality, their gifts, their natural-bent.  Other scales this messy conglomerate of things I’ve done and failed to do mixed with all those things above.  Yet, still there are scales that come straight from my lessons.  From things that I have done (by the grace of God).  Like the one on Bronwyn that lights up with I talk about reigning in a horse.  Or the one on Sedryn that glows when I kiss one cheek and he waits, mouth open in anticipation, for the other cheek smooch.  Or the one on Aeralind that gleams when she puts one her shoes.  Or the one on me that drops the car seat and her diaper bag to reach down and snuggle a hurt child (because we both know that’s not my natural-bent).

Mom, you’ve shaped me.  A scale here and there.  The ones around my heart.  The ones on my obstinate head. Thank you.

I’m sorry for not saying so sooner.

I’m independent, stiff-necked, and obstinate, you know?  It takes a bit to process things and even more to find the words and time to say them right.

Love you.