This is what it’s all about

Store-bought greeting cards are expensive, and the assembly-line verses inside make it easy not to have to say anything more than that.
When it comes to times like Christmas and birthdays, I encourage my three daughters to substitute a trip to the greeting card aisle for something handmade and handwritten.
I’ve never cared what the end result looked like, as long as it contained even the tiniest thoughts of the heart from their very own hand.
Yes, I’ve met with resistance from the trio and I’ve heard all the excuses—“It’s too hard,” “I don’t know what to say,” and “My finger hurts.” But as the girls have learned from their mother over the years, “You must comply, resistance is futile.”
That’s not to say I haven’t bucked up and lost to teenage opposition. In 1999 at the age of 14-and-a-half and hard on the road to rebellion, my oldest daughter dropped out of school and left home.
I fought hard to draw her back to the arms of her family, but convincing was futile and she never returned to live with us again.
I really believed I’d done all I could, but I often second-guessed myself and revisited all my options time and again—wondering if I’d failed at motherhood or if I had missed something that could have changed things around.
At times I was so distraught, I think I might have even considered kidnapping her from her so-called “life away from home” and duct-taping her to the basement wall until she was 18.
In the end, I hung on to my belief that we all have a sacred journey to take in life and through it is how we learn our lessons. My daughter’s journey wasn’t the one I had hoped she’d take, but it was still hers and I had to let her be.
Today, I still believe in the journey and, thankfully, it brought my daughter full circle back to me as a woman and on into her own motherhood.
Yet it wasn’t until this past Sunday, on Mother’s Day, when I opened and read the following handwritten letter from my now 21-year-old daughter, did I know there’d be no more second-guessing my mothering from the past or in the future.
And for every mom out there who is struggling with teenage angst—whatever you decide, have faith, you are doing the right thing.
For you on Mother’s Day
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be just like you. Almost all of my childhood, happy memories have you in them.
You’ve been there to help me through the bad times all throughout my life, and though it has been a bumpy road at times, you are the one who helped me pull through and find the right road— with your caring heart, your advice, your experience, support and love.
I couldn’t and never would ask for a better mother. You know, after really reflecting on my life, it has always been you who has been there.
All of my “owies,” you fixed me, all my birthdays you organized, all the vacations you took us on, all the sad times with the divorce, deaths, injuries, everything, it was you who I would go to for comforting.
All the camping, the movie-watching, the craft-making, the baking, it was you who did everything for us.
Mom, you gave so much to us growing up, you must have had so little time to do anything for you. I just wish I could repay you for all of the good things you have brought to my life. You continue to be there for me even through the things you probably want to ignore.
I will never forget when you drove six hours from home to rescue me from the city. The fact that you did that for me still makes me well up, because it showed how much you loved and wanted to help me, even though I’d put you through so much grief only a couple of years before.
I put you through so much worry, pain, and tears, and you still remain strong.
You are the most patient woman I know. I have wanted to thank you for a very long time for putting up with me, and I’ve never really apologized to you for what I have put you through.
I never fully understood why you grounded me as a teen so much, or why you wouldn’t let me stay out as long as I wanted, or why you would call the police to come find me, until now.
Being a parent has really opened my eyes and made me realize how truly precious children are. I know now that you were only trying to protect me, teach me, help me, as well as many other things that a mother is supposed to do.
Everything you did during that period of time was absolutely the right thing to do. You always seem to know what the right thing to do, is.
Anyway, I am a better and stronger person because of you, and I am so sorry that I put you through so much misery. Just know that by you staying strong through so much, gives me hope for myself in the future, and gives me faith in myself. It is all because of you.
You are the most beautiful inside and out and you will never ever need to change who you are because to me you are and always will be the perfect mom.
I love you around the world and back again in a circle never-ending. I hope your day is wonderful and fun-filled, and I look forward to our future.
Love your daughter, Megan.

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