Joyeuse fete des meres (excuse the lack of accents my keyboard is American) to all the mommies out there! Including my own, my grandmothers, my aunts, and anybody else I know who is a mom! It’s not actually Mother’s Day in France today but I decided to go by the US calendar since my mom isn’t French and she was probably expecting a whole blog dedicated to her!
And it is my sister’s birthday so happy birthday to her! 19 years! I hope you celebrate accordingly Sandrine because after 21 it’s all downhill! I’ll admit I haven’t bought you a present yet… but I will do so before I leave France! I promise! And when we are both 21 we can go barhop around Manhattan and drink legally together.
But in all seriousness Mom, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me and everything you’ve sacrificed over the years. I know I wasn’t the easiest person to raise. I was lazy, I was selfish, I didn’t listen to you, I was unmotivated, I had nervous breakdowns and went through depression and basically put you through hell at times. I may not have been as… let’s say “dramatic” as that other child you raised but I was just as stubborn and as passive-aggressive. And it wasn’t until I got to college that I realized how much effort and how much work it took you to get me there.
And your support is what has gotten me through so much, you have no idea! You stood by me in everything I’ve done and have helped me out in so many ways:
-camp. I hated camp as a kid yet you always comforted me and you even let me quit a camp 2 weeks early despite the fact I don’t think you got a refund. And you were patient as I tried different kinds of camps and always seemed to end up hating them.
-math. I never actually did the work…. but I suspect you knew that (even when I lied and said I did it). You did your best when it came to my mathematical incompetences. Really, it’s not your fault that I hate math. We just weren’t meant to be friends! Which always makes me feel guilty when I think of the money you spent on tutors.
-my anxiety. We do come from a family of worry warts but god knows how many times I have blown something out of proportion. I could probably create a whole situation to get anxious about surrounding a dust particle. And you were always the voice of reason, even when you weren’t there, talking me out of my fears. And you still do it today.
-my social awkwardness. Some people might actually be scratching their heads about this one but Mom knows. I was so painfully shy as a kid and even though I hide it better today, but Mom was always encouraging me to smile more and give me other pointers on how to act in public. Because she is the queen of putting people at ease in public, the same way she has been putting me at ease since I was a baby.
-French. People always ask me if my mom knows how to speak French and I never hesitate to say “Of course!” And the fact you only spoke in French to me til I went to FASNY, bought French Canadian Disney cassettes (well they had to come from somewhere that was compatible with American VCRs!), read books to me in French (completely translating Good Night Moon when I was a toddler, we never had the book in French)… and then I repaid you by making fun of your accent and correcting your grammar when you spoke. But then I make just as many mistakes and probably drive Papa crazy with my really obscure questions or pestering him to know if a certain noun is masculine or feminine. It was hard for you to speak French all the time and I know you like to pretend you can’t speak French anymore but the truth is you can Mom! Maybe you should come do a foreign exchange in Toulouse! 😀
-my education. This is a big one. You weren’t able to be a stay at home mom, something that confused a lot of my friends. If I was sick, taking a day off was a huge sacrifice. You would come to my corny Halloween parade on your lunch break and take the train to Larchmont to watch me walk a couple of circles around the playground and then you would take the train back to the city to work. Also sending me to FASNY (and Sandrine) and paying for the two expensive tuition fees when you could have probably bought a summer house somewhere with all that money. Then you were a real sport when I decided to switch high schools (mostly because RHS is a public school and you’d finally be free of private school tuition haha) and supported me during that really hard year. 10th grade was so tough for me but I think it was even harder on you to have to watch your own child in pain. And then when I went through another tough time sophomore year (always sophomore year I guess that’s some kind of theme in my life), you came to visit me for a weekend at school. You made sure I received the best education I could and I often repaid you with less than stellar grades and identity crises. Sorry.
And you’ve supported me through all my major decisions and life-changing experiences, most recently my decision to study abroad. Having studied abroad yourself, I knew you had no problem with me doing it though I’m sure deep down you must have had some nervous reservations. In the end, I’ve turned out to be a lot more like you than I realized, except I didn’t find love abroad. Sorry if that disappoints you, it disappoints me too!
I know it hasn’t always been easy, especially when you had to listen to me complain, whine, cry about pretty much everything. Church, math, friends, school, boys, ballet, and life in general…
However you always pushed me to strive for more and considering I do not want to be a waitress anymore (this is what I aspired to be when I was 3, in all seriousness), I think it’s safe to say you succeeded! I still don’t know what I want to do with my life but I have been thinking more seriously lately even though I’m sure it doesn’t help when I was always say “I don’t know what I want to do after college! Leave me alone!”
And before I forget, both my grandmothers have been always supportive of me too. While Grandma has dementia now and probably wouldn’t be able to read this if given a computer, I just want her to know I still love her too. Even if she curses at me and tells me she doesn’t want to see me anymore (or Mom or anybody else related to her), she is still surrounded by people who love her. And I hope she somehow realizes that we are there for her until the very end. Even before she got dementia, she was always offering me milk and cookies when I stopped by her house and always seemed happy to receive people (especially Milou hehe), even as her memory declined.
And Mamie Tite, I could probably sing your praises all day long and write a whole blog entry about you too! Even though I didn’t get to see you much growing up, it didn’t matter to you. You always acted like we had just dropped by yesterday when in fact it had been a whole year since I had last seen you. From the endearing way you used to call me “mon poussin” to the more mature “ma grande”, I hope I’ve made you proud, even if you couldn’t always be there for geographical reasons. Your laughter and good humor are the qualities I’ve always admired about you and I hope I can somehow be as happy when I reach your age.
And Mom, if I made you cry reading this post, then I guess I succeeded with my goal. But then you cry at everything so…
I love you Mom. And you too Sandrine!
PS. Belated happy birthday to Pape, who I forgot to get a shout out here. But I did call him ok Mom? 😛