I don’t know your thirteen year old self yet. I’ve only known your one, two, three and four year old selves. Thirteen: I don’t know if you are wearing long skirts and high collars and then changing at school into tight pants and applying layers of body glitter and red lipstick. Maybe you are hiding behind thick glasses and braces and hanging out in the library. Or maybe, hopefully, you are somewhere in between, part fun, part serious, all you. I do know that no matter where you are, your heart, the heart that I know so well, is still beating strong inside that mysterious teenage self; your kind, tender core remaining, regardless of the clothes you wear over it.
I don’t know if, at the all too confident age of thirteen, you now think I’m the stuffiest, dullest of women; one who simply doesn’t get you. Maybe you don’t want to be seen walking down the street holding my hand or god forbid, hugging me or being hugged.
So just in case, I want to tell you now, before I forget: once you were my biggest fan, my shadow, my own personal very small and mobile cheering section.
I want to tell you. And I want to remind myself. For there will come a day I may forget.
When you were just a girl of four, sweet Reese, I would put you down for bed at night and you would say to me with all the sincerity of a holy one:
YOU: Mama, you know why I love you the best, the most of anyone?
ME: Why angel?
YOU: Because I never had a mom before you. You are my first mom. And I will love you forever. You are going to be my mom until I’m 100.
YOU: You’ll be 100 and I’ll be 100 too. I don’t ever want to be without you.
So, Reese, on this day, on every day from now to 100, remember this – know that you saw me this way once. Remember on the day you get grounded for staying out too late or hanging out with the wrong crowd. Or mouthing off. Or picking on your brother. Remember this when you think I don’t understand you or don’t care the way you want me too. Remember this when I’m not the mother you wish I was. Remember that once, I was. I was everything you wanted.
I was exactly enough and you, you were everything.