BY LEAH CARTER
I know it’s been a whole five hours since we last spoke on the phone, but how are you? Learned to use Facebook yet? Decided to put punctuation in your text messages? How many strangers have you shown a picture of my baby to in, say, the last five minutes?
We’ve always been the best friends, you and I. We talk every day on the phone and share everything with each other. But now that I’ve had my daughter and you’ve become a grandmother, there are a few important things I’d like to tell you.
Firstly, thank you.
Thank you for wiping my bottom one thousand times a day, and for finding the bizarre colours and pungent odours that resided in my nappy endearing rather than horrifying.
Thank you for the sacrifices you made for me. I know that you gave up many, many things that were important to you in order to give me every opportunity that you possibly could. I really do appreciate it.
Thank you for putting me first, always and to this day.
Thank you for being so protective of me. I understand now that the thought of me coming to any kind of harm was enough to make you cry and twist your stomach into knots.
Thank you for loving me unconditionally.
Thank you for instilling in me the belief that I could achieve anything I put my mind to and worked hard for. For teaching me that there is no such thing as the easy way and that my worth is tied up in so much more than the way I look or the clothes that I wear.
Thank you for leading by example. You are a strong, passionate, kind and generous woman and I continually aspire to be like you.
And thank you for never putting me in those ridiculous baby headbands. Even though I excitedly bought some before my daughter was born, I now realise that they really do look stupid.
Secondly, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for all the times I said mean things to you. I now appreciate how painful that must have been. Thinking about this makes me sad.
I’m sorry for not believing you when you told me that riding in cars with boys was a bad idea. I totally agree with you now.
I’m sorry for getting a tattoo.
I’m sorry for slowly torturing you by waking up so many times during the night. Sleep deprivation really is a bugger, isn’t it?
I’m also sorry for then, ironically, never wanting to get out of bed as a teenager.
I’m sorry for complaining about being an only child. I know now why you didn’t go back for a second.
I’m sorry for begging you to let me get my ears pierced. You should have never let me do that, by the way.
I’m sorry for the times when it seemed like I was taking you for granted. I realise that being a parent is tough, that it doesn’t always come naturally and that you had to work on it every day. I know that at times you were scared, confused, stressed and ridiculously tired. Thanks for thinking that I was worth it.
And lastly, congratulations.
Congratulations on doing the most challenging job in the world for the past 27 years. You have demonstrated endless patience, uncompromising commitment and real, real love.
You’re amazing. I should tell you that more often.
Leah lives and works in Sydney. She is a high school teacher and mother to a baby girl and a puppy named Bartlett. She has recently started blogging about her experiences as a first time mum. Read her blog at rosieeve.wordpress.com or find her on Facebook here or twitter @rosieeveblog.