Dear Mom…

Dear Mom...

Riana Watkins-Martin, Staff Writer

There are little pencil markings etched into the doorframe of my main bathroom, tiny graphite carvings laid out in pairs that resemble inching caterpillars competing against one another in a 2 mile race. These are the very markings of my youth, the ones my mother enthusiastically charted after every milestone birthday as she assuredly documented my sister and I’s growth like we were tomato plants growing in her garden.

With each indentation in the cherry-stained wood came a congratulatory praise from her as she wrapped her arms around the two of us and planted sticky lipstick kisses on our cheeks, complimenting us for finally surpassing that one inch we’d needed to reach another foot. That was the thing with my mother. She made me feel proud of myself for simply completing mundane tasks, for simply doing the best I could; it didn’t matter if I had only learned to sloppily tie my shoe or if I had finally managed to create my own program in Calculus. To her, it was all the same. And in those moments when she would lug out the ruler from the supply closet and instruct me to plant my feet firmly against the wall, she was proud of me for just growing.

This is a letter to my mom. Maybe it doesn’t quite follow the senior column criteria; maybe it isn’t nostalgic enough, maybe it doesn’t carry a  reminiscence tone, maybe it doesn’t have enough “this is it’s” or “the best is yet to comes”  tangled within every sentence. But I feel as though if anyone is deserving of having a final piece dedicated to them, it is my mom… because that Hallmark card and a single bouquet of Lilac flowers I handed to her on Mother’s day  just wasn’t enough.

When most people are instructed to close their eyes and picture a childhood hero, the image of velvet red capes and perfectly chiseled jawlines immediately comes to mind. They can not help but think about the imaginary characters who somehow managed to fly around the perimeter of the city within a day, those who managed to swoop down at the drop of the hat and save the world using only their x ray vision and extraordinary reflexes. Well.. my childhood hero lacked a cape but instead came bearing nothing but a box full of bandages and a heart full of “I love you’s.” She may not have saved the galaxy, but that was because she was too busy rescuing my sister and I all of the time; she was always too busy running around with her hands cupped around her mouth, reminding us to “be careful” and “look before we cross the street.” My childhood hero may not have been able to waterbreath nor did she tote around a cloak of invisibility behind her, but her powers lied in being able to wrangle two toddlers into their cribs each night night and french braid their hair in the morning without causing WW III. That was a gymnastic feat in and of itself.

Throughout my childhood, my mom couldn’t help but treat us like delicate collectibles  that were a part of her glass menagerie. When one of us went flying off of a two wheeler, our feet protruding out behind us along with all the the wails and whines, she came running down the street like she had just witnessed her favorite crystal teapot shattering into pieces. She only looked at us with eyes of pure adoration as  if were made out of the finest China; she was patient, too. I remember she would have spent hours listening to us fumble with our words and attempt to spit messy sentences out. She didn’t care that they weren’t beautiful, because she thought we were.

As the carvings near the main bathroom slowly progressed up the doorframe inch by inch, I went from bringing back scraped knees to bringing back heartaches. Despite the fact that I was no longer crying about misplacing my teddy bear but instead sobbing hysterically over the woes of my adolescent years, my mom remained the one consistent in my life. She went from offering me colorful stickers and packs of Crayola crayons to comforting me with nothing but a box of tissues and an arm to learn on, allowing me to feel weight free for just a couple of seconds. It was in those moments that I knew she would take the weight of my problems off of my shoulders and heave it onto her very own if she could.  I know that in my hormonal phrases, I sometimes blew things out of proportion and claimed that my life was over at least every other day, but she did not tell me that my problems were insignificant because she knew that in my world, they were big.

There comes a time, though, when my mom can longer be my Superwoman. She can no longer run after me with warnings and hydroperoxide, ready to wash away all of the hurt and heal my wounds with lipstick kisses. College is the kryptonite that prevents her from protecting me from all the bad; it is the kryptonite that keeps her from fixing all the broken pieces when I come running home like a shattered pot of China in her glass menagerie. I just want to let her know that, despite this sad truth, it is all going to be okay. Through all the times she lugged us two babies up the stairs at the same time and managed to keep us from killing each other as if she were some boxing referee, she has taught me that you don’t need a cape to be strong. And I just hope that one day, after all of this is said and done, she will look at me with pure admiration, tilting her head back and proudly gleaming up at me as if I am that one flower from her garden that she is so proud of.