Note: Yes, I realize the subject says Sunday Letters and today is in fact Monday, but if I'm going to be completely honest here I started writing it yesterday, but I started crying, and then my husband found me, and I decided I needed to distance myself from it for a while. Of course, then one thing led to another and my A.D.D. kicked in and I lost myself in the Survivor Reunion Show. Sorry Mom, but let's face it, you would have done the same thing for Survivor!
When I first told you that I would be moving out on my own almost 8 years ago you started crying, and I felt stupid because I couldn't understand why. You and I weren't getting along very well anymore and I thought my moving out of your house would actually make you happy, but that didn't seem to be the case. A couple of weeks went by before I finally caught you alone and asked what you were so upset about, and to my surprise you admitted that between my depression in high school and the way I clung to Jon so quickly afterward, you felt you and I never really had the chance to bond like you had envisioned. I didn't understand what you meant at the time, but as the years passed I watched the relationship you had developed with Kristin while she was in high school and I finally got it. You and I didn't talk about boys, or dresses, or the caddy girls at school. No, you and I screamed, and we cried, and we worried until our chests felt like they were about to explode over whether or not I was going to make it through not only another day of school but another day of life. I was a train wreck for a solid 4 years and you were the frantic family member glued to the ongoing live coverage, hoping for a sign that I was alright. You saw me hit rock bottom every morning, and every morning you helped pull me back out. Only a mother's deepest love would have done that for me, and someday I'll find a way to thank you properly.
As for the mother and daughter bonding, though it may not have seemed like it at the time, through all of the crying and yelling and weepy teenage metaphors of those hectic years, you were able to see a part of me that no one else had seen before.
You once told me what you thought my visits with the psychiatrist were like--you said you always pictured me lying on a couch, confessing my fears and deepest, darkest secrets to the doctor sitting across from me, purging all of my negativity so I could walk out of the office with a smile and renewed sense of worth.
No offense, but I thought your idea of therapy was funny.
The truth is I faked a smile with the psychiatrists and therapists for every single one of those 1 hour sessions. I put on a fake smile before I walked in the door and I removed it the moment we got back in the car. And as for what we talked about, well, we talked about the good things and only the good things, because after all, I wanted to be likeable not crazy.
In the end, what the psychiatrists and therapists and all those other head doctors got from me were lies, but what I gave you every morning was real, it was me, albeit a little harsh at times, but it was me spilling my guts to you, reaching out to the only person I felt would really, truly listen to me. That was bonding, Mom, those heavy, emotional moments are ours and only ours to keep.
I think what neither of us had realized at the time is that I was an extremely complex, quiet, yet dynamic young woman who was trying to come to terms with her complexity and uniqueness when everyone else appeared so normal. You guided me through the toughest years of my life, and I'm here, and I'm doing just fine. I think that says everything there is to say about who you are as a parent--you're an amazing woman who did everything in her power to save me, and you did.
Here's to the woman I owe everything! Happy Mother's Day!