When I think of inspiration for being a parent, my mind always goes to you first. I don’t know how you feel about parenting me, whether you felt that you made too many mistakes, that you didn’t do enough for me, but that, in my mind, couldn’t be further from the truth.
By the time you had had me, you had gone through your own fair share of heartbreak and hurt, and it didn’t stop for awhile after I was born. As far back as I can remember, you went to work, pressing shirts, with well over 100 degree temps in the summer. I met your boss, your coworkers, and I vividly remember you explaining to one that your line of work was one that you never wanted for me.
You kept a roof over my head and food in my stomach. You played the role of both mom and dad, you had fair and reasonable expectations of me (pay my way, graduate high school, don’t be an ass), and you always had words of wisdom, not only for me, but for my friends who spent time with us. You were a mom not only to me, but to the others I befriended whose parents weren’t always present or fair.
My childhood wasn’t perfect. I didn’t have a silver spoon. I didn’t have the trendiest clothing, the nicest things, the best of everything. But I knew how to pinch pennies, I knew how to be self-sustaining, independent, to appreciate the crummy jobs that didn’t always put me in the best mood, to have thick skin to deal with people who were less than friendly towards me, to survive if the world fell in around me. You managed to balance the fine line between being parent and friend, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you as a parent. You did more than you may realize. My life would be different, probably even worse, if I never had you to raise me. And I can only hope that I have made you proud as your child.