Our relationship’s been somewhat atypical of your usual mother/daughter standards. Shortly after my sixth birthday, you fell ill. Really ill. I’ll never forget Christmas of that year when you were so sick you couldn’t roll over to sip your water, so I held the cup next to you with a straw so you wouldn’t get dehydrated. From that point on, most of my memories of you are tinged with at least some level of fatigue or illness- I don’t remember very much of you pre-Lupus & Lyme Disease.
What I do remember from my childhood, though, is wondering why you never saw yourself the way we did. You have been, from the very moment I was born, my standard of beauty. When we were small and exhausted every ounce of your energy, we still thought you were most beautiful thing in the world. Because you were, and because you are.
When Lupus meds robbed you of what you thought your figure should look like, we didn’t see “fat”; we saw beauty changing form. When you’d weep over the loss of clumps of hair, we didn’t see a balding mom; we saw beauty changing form. And when we had that cancer scare and they implanted a port in your chest, only to leave an obvious scar upon removal, we didn’t see an unsightly mark that needed covering; we saw beauty changing form, yet again. We saw a battle wound from someone who’s fought long and hard against their own body.
Mom, if I could grant you one wish other than healing you, it would be this: that you could see yourself the way we did when we were small. When a child’s unadulterated love of their mother meant that we didn’t see flaws, we saw what made you OURS, what made and makes you beautiful.
Maybe one day you’ll understand, one day when I complain to you about how tired I am from chasing my own little children around, when I have bags under my eyes from too many sleepless nights and early mornings, and all you’ll see are the things that make me beautiful. Special to my children. Uniquely equipped for the job of motherhood. And when that day comes, I hope you’ll remind me of this very letter I wrote to you.