Mom, You Are A Warrior

Jessica Pankratz
Jessica Pankratz

You have wings. They’re sewn into your back like armor because superheroes need to fly, and you wear your halo like a crown. You’re my best friend, my biggest fan; that one person in the crowd always cheering for me when I’ve fallen and my knees are bleeding. You are the constant when the storm breaks, it’s always your hand reaching for mine.

You’re the reason I’m proud to come from a single parent household, you’ve not just been a mother but also a father, a teacher, a counselor and a friend. You’ve been everything.

These past twenty-four years you’ve made it all look so easy. You’d get us up for school in the mornings, even my little terror of a brother, and then you’d disappear off to work at the hospital, gracing the frail and the dying with your beautiful smile and caring ways before rushing home to meet us from school, tiredness pressed into your features, your long hair scraped off your face as you cooked us dinner and tucked us in at night but not before reading us a story or checking the closet and under the bed for monsters. You never complained.

Of course I know now it was never that easy. Your cape was slightly torn and your crown wobbled a few times. Your wings weren’t capable of letting you fly some days but you kept going. You’d have to eat our leftovers because there wasn’t enough food and you’d be surviving on three hours sleep. Your smile was a mask. You were exhausted. But we never went without. Our dreams never suffered because you made sure we had everything, all the tools we could possibly need to make our way in life, even if it meant you went without.

I know sometimes you wish for more, more money, a bigger house and a loving man. But you don’t need any more than what you have right now. You inspire me every day in everything you do. You carry this beautiful aura with you; you are the sun. And those men who let you down and berate you just can’t handle a successful, intelligent, independent woman. They do not know what to do with the endless amounts of love you have to give. You are a credit to no one but yourself. And I am so proud to call you my mom.

Even now, at twenty-four, the only person I want when I’m sad or ill or have great news, is you. You’re always there picking up the pieces and I’m so honored that I’m here to do that for you too. Not many people can say that about their moms and I feel so lucky that I can.

So thank you for being you. Thank you for showing me that the heart cannot be worn or broken beyond repair. Thank you for showing me that no matter how many times you fall, you get up, dust yourself off and keep going. Thanks for teaching me that intelligence is more worthy than beauty and thanks for making me believe I have both.

Thank you for supporting me in every decision I make and for never pushing me to be something I’m not. Thank you for always making my dreams possible, for smashing that glass ceiling and running alongside me as I chase after my passions.

Thanks for loving me even when I’m horrible, even when I refuse to admit you’re right. Thanks for showing me that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just another battle scar in this scary world and there is nothing we can’t beat if we try.

Thank you for being my safe place, for letting me know that even when it feels like the whole world is against me, there’s you; both hands in the air, that beautiful grin on your face cheering me on. You’re incredible and I owe everything I am and everything I could be to you. TC mark

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