It might be your birthday but I’m finally at the age where I can gleefully admit that you were so right!
Happy Birthday! I hope you like the flowers I sent to your office and that they found their way to your desk. I hope they brighten up an otherwise grey February day and that everyone asks who sent them.
I’m writing this incredibly public letter to let you know something very important:
You were right, I definitely should not have picked at all my bug bite scabs. I didn’t listen. I still get an inordinate number of bug bites in summer and I still pick at the scabs. If I had listened to you the first time you told me I probably wouldn’t have this bad habit.
You were right, taking side streets instead of main roads is the faster option. Not only is it faster in a car but it is also faster when walking. I know I made fun of you for weaving through town, but now I am also a proud weaving pedestrian.
You were right, having windows open during summer nights and closing them before the sun gets too high is the best way to keep a living space cool.
And you were spot-on, super-duper right about skin care. You told me to be kind to my skin, to use gentle products. But all the ads and magazines told me my skin needed to be blemish free and that I needed these intense products to make myself beautiful. They were effective ads and I was a teenager who thought she knew best. So, I spent the next 17 years of my life trying out every harsh pore-blasting product I could afford, and some I couldn’t.
Every time I bought a new product I remembered you telling me to be gentle and kind to my skin, but I ignored it. Until finally, predictably, my skin rebelled by turning red and flakey and actually causing me pain. I had nothing left to do but try out gentle cleansers and properly moisturising lotions. Within a week my skin was smooth and glowing like it hadn’t been since the first time you gave me advice about skin care. You were right and I am sorry, to you and to my face, for not listening the first time.
I am sure that as I go throughout more of my adult life I will find more things that you were right about, especially if I ever become a mom myself. I’ll do my best to impart your wisdom and my own onto the new human, but I have a feeling that we’re part of an endless cycle of ignoring and learning. I’m glad to be in this cycle with you.
Mom, you were right. I love you. Happy Birthday!