An Open Letter to My Best Friend

Dear Mom,

Today is a day to celebrate the amazing person that you are. Although, every day should be Mother’s Day, because you most certainly treat every day like it’s Daughter’s Day. The love and support you give me is something that I will never be able to repay you for. I hope this post shows you my gratitude that I too often forget you remind you of.

I’m 21 and at times I think I have it all figured out. I’d like to think that I can solve any problem that comes my way without the help of anyone else. I long to be independent yet I can’t picture a world without your support. I call you and vent for hours about such trivial things yet I rush our phone calls when you call me with simple questions. I take my frustration out on you because I know you’ll always forgive me. It’s awfully selfish and I wish I could change my attitude at times, but yet you still love me unconditionally. You are not only my mother but my best friend.

I think we all forget the true meaning of a best friend. A best friend isn’t just the person who talks you through a tough break up, or picks you up when you’re too drunk to drive. A best friend isn’t just the person who wipes your tears or makes you laugh uncontrollably. Although all of these are attributes we seek for in a friend, we often forget that a best friend is someone who will never leave your side. They’ve seen you at your worst but never pass judgement. They always forgive you when you speak out of line because they know you really don’t mean it. They comfort you and make sure you always see the light at the end of the tunnel. They make sure that you know how beautiful you are each moment of every day. And that is why you, Mom, are my best friend.

You’ve seen me at my worst and my best. You’ve held my hand and rubbed my back when life doesn’t seem to be going my way. You’ve taught me to live life with a kind and humble heart and always remind me that life moves on even when I think it won’t. You never say “I told you so” when I don’t listen to your advice, instead you help me brainstorm a way to fix the mistakes I’ve made. You help me become a better and stronger person every single day of my life, and I wish I could put into words the significant impact you’ve had on my life.

I remember when I was little and threw temper tantrums when things didn’t go my way (OK, fine, maybe I still throw MINOR temper tantrums), but I’d always say “You don’t love me or else you wouldn’t make me cry.” You’d look me in the eye and say, “Bethie, you can say and do whatever you want to me, but I will still always love you. I’m not going anywhere, I’m your mother.” You still speak those words to me today, and it always gives me a peace of mind. It always reminds me of how blessed I am to have you as my rock.

As we grow up, our relationships with our parents change. There comes a point where we have to start supporting them as much as they do us. It’s a point in time where you suddenly become the shoulder they cry on and the person they rely on. The excuses you have to be selfish as a child no longer apply. It’s here when the start of a beautiful friendship begins.

For those of you who have the privilege of knowing Judy, you probably love her. Her laugh is contagious and she always welcomes anyone with open arms. You’ve probably fell victim to her countless attempts to feed you even if you’re not hungry and you’ve definitely heard her call me “Boop” numerous times. Even if you’re a stranger to her, she makes a point to get to know you upon meeting you for the first time. She’s an incredible woman.

Her life story is nothing short of admirable. Growing up in a working class family, going winters without heat, sharing one room with 4 of her sisters, this lady paid her own way through college. She then proceeded to pack her bags upon graduation and head off to the Philippines for 2 years, volunteering with the Peace Corps. I’ve only heard tidbits of her time there: getting held at gunpoint in the jungle, nearly dying from a poisonous piraña bite, sleeping on a bed made of sticks, but none of that scared her away. She loved it. It takes a strong and extraordinary person to be able to live in absolute bliss with next to nothing.

Do you think she’s cool yet?

Perhaps the best way to describe her is telling you a story:

I was in the 3rd grade. There was a girl in my class who everyone labeled as “the weirdo.” I’ll call her Julia. She didn’t have many friends and there was always something off about her. Her mom never came to pick her up from school neither attended any of the choral concerts put on. She wreaked of cigarette smoke and always had bruises all over her body. I didn’t understand at the time, but this girl came from a broken home. She didn’t have much money and she probably dealt with things that none of us should ever have to deal with at that age. I’d talk about her to my mom and she always told me to be nice and include her and I did my best.

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas vacation. Everyone was getting in the holiday spirit, writing their letters to Santa outlining every toy that they wanted. Julia didn’t write anything down on hers so I asked her, “What is Santa going to bring you this year?” She looked down and said “Santa doesn’t come to my house.” This upset me more than I thought it would so I went home and talked to my mom about it. The next day my mom came home with a bag of gifts. Thinking they were for me, I got all excited  and then she explained to me who they were for. “I got these little gifts for Julia. I talked to your teacher and every day this week you and I are going to go into school early before all of your classmates get there and put a little gift in her cubby. You don’t have to say they are from you, but everyone deserves a Christmas.”

So we did. The week before Christmas break Mom and I would go into school early with a wrapped gift and put it in Julia’s cubby along with a little note with some cheery Christmas quote. We signed it, “Your personal Christmas elf.” At first she was confused by all of it, but the joy she got from being able to look forward to a little surprise every day instantly brightened her mood. All of the classmates gossiped about it, jealous of her personal Christmas elf, but I kept my mouth shut. It was my little secret.

When I think about my mom, that story frequently comes to mind. I don’t think there’s a better way to describe her; the story says it all. She lives a life of selflessness, always giving and never expecting anything in return. She always puts other people’s happiness in front of her own, a quality that many of us can’t say we possess.

So this post is for you, Judy. Thank you for steering me through life and encouraging me to pursue my dreams from Braintree all the way to South Africa. Thank you for being my best friend and putting up with my whirlwind of a life. It can’t be easy raising a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, cries over a broken iPhone, and willingly bungee jumps off tall bridges for fun, but you’ve most certainly done an amazing job. You’ve been my cheerleader from the sidelines of the soccer field and from the other end of the computer screen even when we are thousands of miles apart.

I know you worry about me, Mom. And, hell, I would too. But, there’s no need to worry. I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life and that’s all thanks to you. You can hardly find me without a smile on my face. I’m still not the best at saving money, my room is still an absolute “pig pen” as you would say, but my life is amazing. I’m still trying to figure out life, but we all are. I can’t promise you I’ll be perfect, but I can promise you that I strive every day to make you proud. You may not have passed down your abilities to save money or keep your room clean, but you’ve most certainly passed down your strong and kind heart.

Thank you, Mom. Thank you for being the amazing person that you are and thank you for guiding me down a path full of happiness. I’m tearing up writing this, and I’m sure you will too.  I promise to continue to have the trip of a lifetime and explore all the world has to offer. There is no way I would be where I am today without you and Dad’s support. I miss you endless amounts and cannot wait to see you. I am so proud to have you as my mother and my best friend. I love you and wish you the happiest of Mother’s Days.

Love,

Bethie Boop

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