I grew up in one of those traumatic homes, where the lack of money was more important than loving the people who were your parents or children. Those ideas were difficult to let go. The imprints our parents place upon us, whether they or we realize it or not, are real, almost tangible in an emotional situation.
I was very lucky in the home, however. I was my mom’s first baby. That’s important because she raised her 7 brothers and sisters, since she was the oldest girl. My mom was thrilled to be given the chance to raise her own son.
I was so lucky to have a mom who wanted me. In my first 18 months as the only child, she and I were inseparable, virtually alone together. She taught me to read, to count, to love freely. She taught me to be secure…and I now regularly thank her for raising me.
Those first months prepared me to survive with love in my heart for the next 17 years, well, for all my 35 years. After the trauma was over and I had made it to college, I had no idea that I felt this way about her or that her tenderness in my infanthood had saved me.
I first thanked her when I was 19, after getting kicked out of the college dorms and had my own apartment for the first time. She didn’t know what I meant, when I said, “Thank you for raising me.” I thought I was being clear, concise, and straightforward. I didn’t realize how complex hearing that from her son would be for her. I didn’t realize she would cry so hard. I didn’t know that I had just transformed her world. I had no idea that telling her thank you was going to save her, that it transcended any trauma we had lived through.
I’ve come to understand few of us thank our parents for raising us. Even when they only were able to do the best they could. Even though it is sad that the best one can do sometimes isn’t enough. In those first 18 months, what she did, though, was more than a lifetime of enoughs.
I freely trust new people. I welcome affection. I love as if today is the last day I’ll ever have. Even through being battered down, I would ask for more love. Even though we couldn’t “eat love,” I understood that without someone with whom to share a love, there is no reason to eat.
Mom, thank you again for raising me. Teaching me that people are the only true wealth is simply the most important, vital, essential lesson I will ever learn. Again, thank you.