Love you this much…

It’s funny the quirky things that are passed down through generations of families. My grandmother sang songs to us that my mom then sang to my kids. Things like that. When we were toddlers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, would ask, “How big is Lesa (or whomever they were talking to)?” We would lift our arms way up over our heads and they would say, “Sooooo big!” Or someone would ask, “How much do you love me?” And we would stretch our little arms as wide as they could go as we said, “Thissss much!” I remember grunting trying to get my arms as far apart as I could to show how much I meant it. I think I’ve asked every toddler I’ve encountered ever since how big they are (smile), and I sang my kids the songs my grandmother and mother sang to me.

When I was in the sixth grade, our teacher had us do a special project for our parents as a gift for Christmas. She gave us each a special sheet of paper and told us to draw a picture or write something special for our parents. She explained that she would then send them to a company that would put our art onto a cup. It was a tumbler with a plastic surround that could hold the paper water tight. I carefully thought about what I would do for each of my parents and was excited that we got to make one for each of them. For my mom’s cup, I drew a colorful butterfly, and for my dad’s I drew a tiger. I then very carefully wrote on each paper, “I love you this much!” and drew little hands stretched way out. I couldn’t wait to see the finished project! I remember being so excited when our teacher told us they were ready. She handed us each our treasured gifts and we opened them with great anticipation. My excitement was soon dissipated. As I looked at each cup, the hands that I had drawn were right next to each other making it look like the tiniest space possible. I didn’t take into consideration that the paper would wrap around the cup so my outstretched hands ended up pretty much next to each other. Luckily the cup had a vertical line going down the back of it and each hand was on either side of the line. When I gave it to my mom and dad, I explained that they had to spin the cup around to see that the hands in fact were far apart.

My mom’s birthday was this week. She would have been 76 years old. When I’m having a bad day, a difficult time, or on a special occasion like my mom’s birthday, I get out a letter that she wrote to me when I was a senior in high school. I went to an all-girl Catholic high school and our senior year we went on a retreat. The moms were contacted without us knowing and asked to write us a support letter that would then be distributed to us during the retreat. I am so glad that I held onto this letter. It has given me strength over these last 35 years. These are some of the highlights…

It hasn’t been hard supporting you because you have always had a level head and after discussions you have been able to make your decisions intelligently and you’ve stuck by them come hell or high water.

You have always been so willing to do the right things.

You have always been asked to step aside (due to a family matter – my words) and you never showed any resentment. You are always eager to help in whatever way you can and you should be proud of that. It is hard enough to ask an adult to do some of the things you have been asked to do let alone a teenager.

She signed it like this (smile)…

Besides it just being my mom’s birthday, I think this has been on my mind because I’m getting Free Mom Hugs Maryland ready for Pride season. Most of the events will be happening this fall and I’m getting sign-ups and such ready for those events. As I’ve mentioned before, many of the people I meet don’t have the support of their families. There is no way, of course, that as we give out hugs at these events that we take the place of anyone’s mom. That is a hole too deep to fill. As hard as it was for me to lose my mom 26 years ago, it was death that took her away…not her disappointment, or disowning me. I can’t begin to imagine that pain and lack of support. Even though I haven’t had my mom with me for many years this letter has meant so much to me and has been her voice as I’ve faced really hard things. It breaks my heart that there are children out there that don’t have that support. So I, and the many moms who join me for these events, do our best to shower our love to the hurting. In many cases, they approach with arms stretched out wide and I engulf them in a hug that I hope not only envelopes their body, but somehow their heart as well. And over and over again each time…I imagine my hug whispering…I love you thissss much.

Because love matters…

6 thoughts on “Love you this much…

  1. no arms are long enough to embrace you with my love and pride in you as a mom, daughter, helper and friend.
    ALL MY LOVE ALL THE TIME
    D

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