Dear Mom: 5 Things I Wish I Did Differently For Your Sake

by Natasha Abadilla

Mom, Mother’s Day is coming up soon, so I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately.

You were my first teacher. You were, and are still, my trusted confidant; the person I go to when everything has gone to sh*t and I just need a rock.

Now, in my early 20s, I know I owe you many apologies. Here are my top five:

1. I’m sorry for not calling as much as I should have.

When you couldn’t stop the tears as you said goodbye when you left me at college, I swore I’d call you every night.

Then, I got swept up in schoolwork and campus shenanigans and managed a text conversation a few times every week.

After I graduated and saw how proud you were of me, as well as how worried I made you for being so far away for work, I swore to myself I’d call you every night.

But, being half a world away from you, WhatsApp soon became our only medium for communication, and I know I should have planned more Skype dates than I did.

I’m in a time zone 13 hours ahead of yours, but you wake up to my WhatsApp messages at 3 am and are always there to talk if I need you. Thank you, Mom, for never allowing me to feel alone.

2. I’m sorry for not listening to your advice about love and relationships.

You’ve warned me time and time again not to fall too quickly, trust too much or let anyone make me cry.

You tried to save me from the inevitable tears and heartbreak.

You reminded me time and time again to be strong and not depend on any significant other for my happiness.

I ignored your advice and got swept up in “love” — or at least what I thought it was — anyway, and I repeatedly got let down, had my heart broken and came crying to you.

Thank you, Mom, for never saying, “I told you so,” and for showing me what unconditional love really means.

3. I’m sorry for not taking you out on more mother-daughter dates.

I remember when I was little, we’d go on lunch dates to Burger King together while Dad was at work.

You’d take me on your errands with you, and whenever we’d go shopping, you’d always let me sneak a piece of candy into the shopping cart. We’d giggle and gossip; we were inseparable.

Little by little, the mother-daughter dates became fewer and further between. I wanted to hang out with my friends and didn’t want to only go places with my mom.

And, when I moved away from home and would come back to visit, those friends were the ones I enthusiastically made plans with first.

I realize now, though, that the lunch dates we have together, still full of giggles and gossip, make me happier than any of the other plans I ever make with anyone else.

Thank you, Mom, for giving me my space and never demanding more of my time, but always making me your top priority whenever I’m home to visit and suggest we have a girl's day.

4. I’m sorry for sneaking around behind your back.

I was nowhere near the perfect daughter. Growing up, I sometimes did things to be rebellious, just to defy you and the “prison” I claimed you kept me in.

From making bad decisions at beach parties to having secret meetings with my then-boyfriend, I kept secrets from you and relished in the fact that you didn’t know every single thing about me.

As I grew older, I realized how much I needed you, how that “prison” was intended to protect me.

I, along with my friends, came to know how absolutely cool you are when you would — with no judgment whatsoever — pick us up and drag us home in the middle of the night whenever we made foolish choices and couldn’t get home by ourselves.

I realized how fortunate I was to have a mom unlike most of my friends’ mothers, who I could feel completely comfortable calling to say that I f*cked up once again.

Thank you, Mom, for always accepting me and forgiving me, no matter what I did.

5. I’m sorry for growing up.

I know that with me as your first daughter, you’ve had to grow up a great deal with me.

You had to go from learning about the newest dolls and toys, to talking about tampons and skinny jeans, to making sure I become confident and strong enough to stand on my own.

You had to slowly let go of my hand, let me wander away from your protective eye and be independent.

Thank you, Mom, for letting me grow and letting me learn, but never leaving my side.

If I were to write you a letter with all the “thank you's” I owe you, I’d be writing for the rest of my life. I hope these apologies will be enough to let you know how thankful I am to be yours, but I know that even if they were sub-par and not imperfect, you’d be proud of me for writing them anyway.

I may no longer be your cuddly baby or the wide-eyed, pigtail-wearing third grader who always held your hand, but I want you to know I’ll always be your little girl.

If I am half as amazing of a mother as you one day, I know my little girl will be so lucky.

I love you.