I need to apologize. There is something I said a long time ago that haunts me to this day.
One late afternoon when I was in high school, I informed you I wouldn't be home for dinner because I was going to be out with my boyfriend. As any mother would, you got a bit annoyed that I had failed to tell you until that late in the day. We got into a fight, and that's when I said something (in my most snotty teenage voice) that I remember close to 20 years later:
"I am so sorry if making dinner is the highlight of your day."
There I got it out. Do you remember it? In a way, I hope not. I actually said that to you -- the woman who stayed at home with four children (the first two children being identical twins born when you were 21), the woman who had a home-cooked meal on our table every evening and the house clean at all times, and the woman who had creative inspirations and professional abilities but always chose to be with her kids.
Am I an awful person or what?
As I have aged, I have regretted making that statement and I have never forgotten it. Sure I was an idiotic teenager who was capable of saying very mean things, but I really wish I could insert something into every teenager's brain to make them understand what their parents do for them ... and tell them why they shouldn't say hurtful things. I am a mother now and I get it (and I will probably "get it" in spades from my children as payback).
Not too long ago, and early on in motherhood for me, when I thought about that statement I felt badly because I assumed having dinner together may have been the highlight of your day. Your whole family was home and sitting around the dining room table and you hadn't seen our faces all day. I imagined that was the reason you were so hurt.
But in the last few weeks I have thought about it more. And a lightbulb went off. Maybe making dinner and having your family together (while a good thing) was not the highlight of your day. Maybe it was your job and you couldn't wait until everyone got into bed -- much the same way I feel at 5 p.m. every night. Maybe you just wanted to get into bed yourself and watch something mindless so you could get a decent night's sleep before the insanity of four kids began anew in the morning.
Until now, I never thought that could have been the case. You provided the illusion (if it was one) that you enjoyed doing everything for us, day in and day out. I never felt like you wanted to be in another place. And for that, I thank you-- and remind myself how to act around my children. But Mom, I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry.
I love you.
Kristin is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of one daughter, Madeline, and one son, Max.