An open letter to the strongest woman I’ve ever known

Dear mom,

As the world celebrates a day to give thanks and appreciation to the amazing woman who nurtured and raised them, I have been thinking about what gift to give you. I thought of buying an expensive perfume for you, but I am not sure what scent you would like to smell. I thought of ordering a bouquet of flowers for you, but I realized I do not know what your favorite flower is.

Unsplash l Kira auf der Heide

I thought of buying a dress for you, but it seems to be a long time since I gave you a good look, I cannot determine what size fits you anymore. I know that with a heart as big as yours, you would appreciate whatever gift I give you, however, for your special day, I would like to give you a gift you would truly want.

And so I thought long and hard only to arrive at a cold realization. You are my mother, the woman who gave life to me, the woman I grew up with, yet I don’t know much about you.

So I started thinking about things I’m sure I know about you. Maybe this way, I will finally be able to figure out what to give you.

You are a woman made of steel, I honestly do not know anyone stronger than you. You have carried me inside your womb for more than 9 months. You started your mornings feeling sick, there were times when going out of bed seemed like an impossible task. Yet you stood up, prepared breakfast for daddy and my siblings like it’s just a normal day. Grandma told me you were in labor for 18 hours, I didn’t know how you had endured so much pain just to see me.

Unsplash l Suhyeon Choi

Not only that, I know how much you love eating sushi for snacks, yet you have endured 9 months of not having a taste of it. Perhaps, the fetus me was not a fan of raw fish, leaving you no choice but to throw up the food that used to give you a glimpse of heaven.

Indeed you are a woman capable of making many sacrifices. You would often show me pictures of your younger self, wearing a bikini that complimented your fit body. I cannot help but notice how perfect you look back then, I cannot even see a stretch mark on your photographed thighs and tummy. Now the picture serves as a reminder of the ‘perfect’ beauty you have lost when you gave birth to my siblings and me.

You are a firm woman with a gentle and loving heart. My sisters and I know how much you love us, yet never once have you tolerated a bad behavior. Thank you for the discipline you have instilled in me and my sisters. Without the lessons, you have taught me the hard way, I would not be where I am today. I will always be grateful that you have opened up my eyes to the reality of the world. I will not have everything my way. And that is okay.

You are naturally forgiving. I have lost count of the number of times I have, intentionally and unintentionally, broken your heart. Yet never once did you get tired of forgiving me, and giving me a chance to prove myself over and over to you.

I have lost track of the number of tears you have shed because of me, I remember the first day I made you cry. It was for a very petty reason, you wouldn’t buy me the doll my friends have, so I threw away the locket grandma gave you. I cannot fathom how you could still say ‘I love you’ to me after what I have done. l Josh Willink

You have always seen the best in me. You were the only one who did not laugh at me when I said I will be a well-known artist. The next day after my revelation, you bought me art supplies from the market. You never get tired of complimenting the drawings I have shown you. And so, I was able to grow up believing in my abilities. You believed in me, and so I believed in myself. 

You always knew the right words I need to hear, whatever the situation is. You kept quiet and offered your shoulders when I failed to pass the entrance test to my dream college. You bought my favorite ice cream when I had my first heartbreak. You have reminded me of my strengths when I was disheartened for losing the promotion I knew I deserved better. You have assured me that I will always have your back.

Unsplash l London Sccout

And knowing that you are true to your words, I was able to spread my wings and fly.  I was not scared of flying at great heights, because I know that if something happens and I fall, you will be there to cushion my landing, you will be there to catch me.

Remembering the good things you have showered me with, I felt ashamed of myself. I am totally clueless as to the things that you like. I realized how you always got my back. That no matter how far the distance I run you will always be there when I look back. I forgot about you in the moment of pursuing my dreams, the dreams you believed I can achieve.

I forgot about you because I have been too busy living my life, the life that would not have been possible without you….

I know you will forgive me, as always, but I still want to apologize to you. I’m sorry for forgetting about you. I am sorry for forgetting that you have a life too. I am sorry for taking your love for granted.

I know what to give you now, my undivided time. Would you like to have some coffee? How about a delicious steak for lunch? I know a good place where we could talk about your life. I know it is not enough to repay all of the goodness you have gifted to me.

But it is a good start to include you in my life as you have for years included me in yours.

Thank you for everything.

Happy Mother’s Day!


your child

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