I remember crawling into your bed at just five years old. The thunder was cracking, the lightning was flashing, and I was scared. But as soon as I crawled into your arms, and you held me tight, the fear suddenly diminished. I felt safe next to you. This was even before the tornado came.
About two years passed, and suddenly we found ourselves huddled in the corner of our basement, under covers, praying for our lives. But just like you had done two years ago, you held on to us kids so tight. You refused to let anything happen to us. You made us feel safe. And even though it was scary and traumatizing, we made it through that night. We lost every material thing, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter much. We still had each other, and that is all we needed.
The years after the tornado were tough on me. I had nightmares after nightmares. But when I had one of those nightmares, and I woke up in a panic, I knew where I could find my comfort. I would slide out of my bed, tip-toe across the house, and crawl in your bed next to you. You always knew why I was there. You would tell me it was okay, and you would hold me in your arms. And for the rest of the night, I would feel safe.
Then there were the times that I was sick. I am sure I would have recovered the same in my own bed, in my own room, but that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to be with you. You would make me hot tea, Vicks me up, tuck me under your covers, and there we would lay, watching Lifetime movies, until we both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe and the sickness suddenly disappeared.
There were also the heartbreaks. I know you remember each one vividly. They broke your heart almost as much as they broke mine. And I didn’t even need to ask you – you already knew. You told me to come over to your room, and there I would stay, crying with you, talking to you, watching Lifetime movies with you, until we finally both fell asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and the heartbreak suddenly started to disappear.
But it wasn’t just the scary, sick, or sad times that I would spend with you. There were nights, that I just wanted to be with my mom, the woman who raised me, loved me, and inspired me. So I would come over to your room, we would lay in the bed, eating popcorn and drinking Pepsi, watching Lifetime movies, until we would fall asleep. I was in your arms. I felt safe, and I felt unconditionally loved.
You have always been there to hold me when I needed you most. You first held me in your arms 25 years ago, as I took my first breath. In that moment, there was so much love, so much joy, and so much safety. I knew from that first minute on, that you would always be there to hold me, and you have never let me down.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom – I love you.