“When I was a little girl, I was everything to my mother.
I was the sun, the moon, and the stars. The fulfillment of a dream and a promise. I was joy, and love, and friendship, all wrapped up in one flawless package.
I was *everything* she needed. You couldn’t have told me any different.
I s’pose it’s natural for small children to believe the sun rises and sets on them, especially with their mamas.
But we mothers keep a secret that we wait too long to share with the people we love most.
The day I learned the secret will always stand out in my memory.
It was the day my mom, who undoubtedly already suffered from the burnout unique to mothers, finally broke down.
I can’t believe it took as long as it did. (I was quite the entitled little monster.)
I didn’t see her cry very often. My parents usually kept the hard things from me — most of the tears, any arguing, any worries — so when those things escaped their bubble, they landed in an inhospitable landscape. I didn’t know what to do with them; I couldn’t fix the grown up tears. So my heart broke, as well.
I remember standing in my parents’ bedroom doorway, studying the wood grain of the frame. I did that a lot as a kid — picked something obscure and unremarkable to focus on when my feelings were too big for me to handle.
I listened as my mother cried. Her broken words reverberated around me, as I tried to separate them from the slight gasps for breath and the absolute river of tears. Now both of us were crying.
And I knew I needed to hear her. I mean, I *really* needed to hear her.
We might have exchanged a thousand words, but these are the ones I’ll remember.
She said, ‘I love to be your mom. But I’m a person, too.’ A person.
Almost thirty years have passed by now. I want to say I could throw all those years together in a kaleidoscope, and no matter how many designs I created, they’d all serve as evidence that I understood her then — that I made it my purpose to remember. But that wouldn’t be the truth.
Not until I let the tears fall in front of my own small children, did I fully understand. I know you feel it sometimes, Mama.
You LOVE to be a mother. But you’re a person, too. And it’s okay to admit it…hopefully before the tears and broken hearts.
Promise me you’ll remember this — in your day-to-day, in the hardest moments — when you’re doting on your everything…your sun, your moon, your stars.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cassie Gottula Shaw. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Cassie here:
‘Look at you, puttin’ on lipstick to go to the cemetery,’ my husband teased, whistling at me. I didn’t plan to see a living soul there.’: Woman realizes during quarantine, ‘Fear is no match for God’s love’
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