I remember you digging in the garden and pulling up the weeds. The summer heat was heavy and enveloping. Cicadas sang behind you in the woods. I remember your clothes and your limbs and the profile of your face as you worked.
I remember you standing in front of the stove at dusk, the light of the hood illuminating you as you cut onions. I stood nearby watching.
You made raw potatoes and burnt pasta and baby bell peppers so special, and you often called us to taste them, or to test the pasta as it boiled.
I remember you rubbing my back at night to help me fall asleep. How did you find the time?
I remember how you made my tummy feel better when it ached. When I was sick, you soothed me, bringing me soup, and crackers, and apple juice in my favorite cup.
I remember how tolerant you were of me when I wanted to stay home with you, so I feigned illness, for a little too many days –
and how tolerant you were on so many occasions, and in so many moments in which, I realize now, must have really tried your patience… but I was so blind.
You picked me up, you dropped me off. You fed my friends and you drove them too.
Your food was always the best.
You arranged parties, and baked cakes, and you sewed costumes for us that were exactly what we wanted.
You prepared fruit and sandwiches and lemonade in the early morning, when the sun had barely risen – to take all four of us on the ferry to play on the beach all day. You’d call us to eat, handing us plums and pouring our drinks and watching us every time we called you,”look mommy!”
I remember you calling us to a colander filled with juicy strawberries. Sometimes you added a tub of delightful cream for us to slather them in, before we gobbled them up and ran off… back to our ‘important business’ of having fun.
And the days when you called us, because you had cut open the most delicious pear. I remember the juices running down your beautiful, tanned wrists. You cut and you cut, and you shared that pear.
You gave away the most ripe, delectable pear… to us.
After we devoured its sweetness, we ran off to our important business… not realizing there was nothing more important than you…
I remember how whatever I wanted, managed to appear in my life. How you stayed awake until the wee hours of morning, wrapping, and preparing so many different things on so many nights. For us.
I remember coming downstairs and breakfast was ready. An egg in a special cup, or pancakes shaped like our names. You were there at the stove and I remember just sitting down and eating,
telling you my dreams.
Every joy, accomplishment, or fantasy I shared with you, even if I had brushed my teeth and they were so smooth I had to show you, or I finished a book and wanted to tell you all about it,
you always listened.
You made me feel what I did was great, that I was great. You always made me feel good about myself and what I did. I don’t remember you ever stopping me short, or seeming uninterested or annoyed, even though I am sure now, that you were at times… but you never, ever showed it.
I remember how you wanted to give me every opportunity.
The beautiful memories seem endless.
And before all that, you had held me in your arms when I knew nothing but your scent, and you carried me and you comforted me when I cried. You got up in the middle of the night so often, but you weren’t even counting.
Even when you were sick you still cared for me. I don’t think I ever heard you complain of your pain… You never even asked for help.
And before all that, you nurtured and nourished me in your womb.
For that alone, I am forever indebted.
My religion teaches me that if I want paradise, it lies at your feet…
But I know I am undeserving,
inadequate in my appreciation, my love, my respect and honor for you. I’ve never done enough.
Please forgive me,
for every time I turned away, barely noticing your love and care.
For every time I didn’t thank you. For every selfish desire I fulfilled, even if it meant disobeying you. For every worried moment you ever had because of me. For the times I came home late, for the times I didn’t call.
For the time my classmate disrespected you and I was embarrassed of you, when I should have been ashamed of him.
For not putting YOU first, Because you deserve to be first.
No one on earth is more worthy of my love and companionship and honor than you. Yet even still, now that I know this, I still fall short.
So I pray that God guides me and helps me be the daughter you deserve. I pray that somehow, I can provide you with some happiness and joy even more than all the happiness and joy I have been able to have, because of you.
I pray that I can be the one to help make your life easier and that when you get older, I can be the one to be there to care for you. I pray for God’s Mercy on you and His Love, as you were so merciful and loving towards me, when I was small, and as you are now.
I pray I can be even a fraction of the woman you are.
May God accept my prayers. Ameen!