Rachel Matos and her mother
This week we are celebrating El Día de las Madres with love letters written by our readers to their mothers. This letter was written by Rachel Matos.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a letter to you. Do you remember that? While you would take me to class with you, I would sit and write letters. I would tell you how much I love you and how pretty you are. In writing letters to you, I learned how to read and write, all before entering school. I remember trips to the Lehman College library. While you did your work, I had fun drawing, playing librarian and roaming the aisles of books. It opened up my world. I think it’s why it feels like home when I enter a library today.
Pursuing an education was just a normal activity in our household. It was part of the every day. As I did homework, played video games, listened to music, you studied, cooked and cleaned. You made it look easy. Being a mother today, I cannot even understand how you managed to keep the house immaculate, have a nutritious dinner on the table, work and study. You always looked beautiful, took pride in what you did have and in the way you looked. I watched you. I watched everything. I took it all in.
Looking back, even with all the love you gave me, I know there were times when I was not easy. Especially during those teen years and when that darn early adulthood angst came creeping in. You did everything in your power to keep me on the right track. Fortunately, my rebellion never got any worse than a bark with no bite. Even with all my “tude” ways, at the end of the day, I was always a good kid, extremely confident, followed the rules, felt a tremendous amount of compassion for others (although I was too “tough” to show it at times) and always ended up doing the right thing. Growing up in NYC, there is so much trouble a young person can get themselves in to. I am proud to say, I never felt the need to. I always knew better. I thank you for that. And to do all that, while pursuing a PhD is beyond admirable.
Now that I have a child of my own, I understand you more. From you, I learned to discuss things with my son, to see the bigger the picture, to be resourceful, to find ways to help your child through difficult times, the power of education, building confidence and so forth. I learned the art of parenting. Anyone can have a child, but not everyone knows how to be a parent. It requires a tremendous amount of strength, courage, self-awareness, patience, perceptiveness, selflessness, generosity, sacrifice and most of all love. You raised the bar. I expect no less of myself.
Thank you for everything you’ve given me. We have had an incredible life. We share quite a history of trial and triumph. It’s wonderful that today, not only are you my mother, but you are my best friend.
I look forward to the new years ahead. I look forward to being old ladies together, heading back to NYC to complain about the humidity, eat at our favorite diner and go shopping.
I love you mom and thank you.
Rachel Matos is an arts educator, portrait artist and professional actor. You can learn more about Rachel, visit her at the Art Muse Blog.