Texting Mystery Man (or MM, as I now refer to him, since I haven’t divulged to my FB friends who it is that has been giving me tingles down my spine the past few weeks). Conversation twists and turns, as it is wont to do. Start talking about the black cloud that follows me and the two little rays of sunshine, the Boy and the Dude, that break through to keep me going. Instead of blowing off my Debbie Downer persona, he tells me this (and this is verbatim):
“Exactly. They are awesome. You have such a close, loving family. You remind me of me, my sister, and my mom. For a long time when we were young, it was just the 3 of us. We were poor and had to struggle. But my mom stayed strong and worked her ass off. She was able to make sure my sis and I were safe and educated, all while doing the same for herself. A lot of sacrifices. And I see that same strength and willingness to sacrifice in you.”
Yup. One of the most amazing compliments I could ever hope to receive. Especially given the regard in which I already knew he holds his mother. And I cried.
People call me strong a lot because I am raising two children with special needs as a single mother. Sometimes I consider that an insult, as if they were saying I’m doing more than any other mother would because my children are different. I don’t know, over-sensitivity, I guess.
But this came from someone who is looking at me through the eyes of a child who is experiencing it, living it with me. And I think that is where the tears formed. As an adult, he remembers and he holds dear the life his mother struggled to provide for him.
I didn’t think it was possible for a woman to be happy to be compared to any man’s mother. But he really admires her for those reasons he gave me. And to see in me those same attributes, well, is an honor.
What I wish for my children is to obviously know that they have always been and will always be loved and treasured beyond measure. I do not wish for them to know how I struggled for them, because I never want them to feel any kind of off-balance sense of obligation to me, for lack of a better term. But I hope if they do realize it, that they know that I would do it over and over again, ad infinitum, to give them the best possible lives.
Thank you, MM, for once again making me feel like I am worth more than what I see.