“I am so proud of the woman you have become. Wow, and I had a part in that. One of the top accomplishments I am most proud of. Love you, Bug!” – A text from my mom while we are living oceans apart.
One of our mini stories together has been playing through my mind a lot recently, reminding me of the beauty and wisdom you weave into my life each and every day.
The day you and Dad dropped me off for college, I was a mess. I had earned a scholarship to player soccer at Oregon State University and would spend the next four years there. Never in my life had I been away from home by myself for more than a week at a time, so this experience would be completely new for me. In the weeks leading up to the big move, we spent our time packing everything I could possibly need, researching classes and the university, collaborating with my future roommate and preparing for this new chapter in my life. Above all else, I spent those weeks worrying about being on my own for the very first time.
On the drive down to Corvallis, we had quality family time in our jam-packed car, filled to the brim with the contents of my dorm room. You pointed out how quick and easy this drive would be and how often we would still see each other (for heaven’s sake, it was only four hours away after all… I know, I know, but seemed like the end of the world all those years ago). You talked about how amazing college was going to be, how much fun I would have and everything I would learn. You told me that college was one of the best times in your life and that you knew, without a doubt it would be the same for me. I was unsure and thought, maybe I should have chosen a college closer to home.
Since the soccer team was required to report two months before school started, it meant I would be living with older girls on the team until the dorms were open. As we approached the typical college house, tears started to fall down my face. It seemed all too real that this was goodbye for now, and once again you knew exactly what I needed. You pulled me close into a warm hug and said, “You are going to make lifelong friends and memories here, that I can promise you.” I looked up at your steadfast smile and absorbed your words. We unpacked my stuff, said our goodbyes and you were on the road back home.
To this day, you still tell me about driving away from that house, seeing me standing on the sidewalk with my big, tear-filled eyes, waving goodbye. I was completely unsure if I would be able to fall seamlessly into this new lifestyle, in a new place, with a bunch of new people. And honestly, in the first two weeks I really wanted to come home. But you pushed me out of my comfort zone convinced me to stay, to give this opportunity a chance.
Little did I know that what you had told me that day on the sidewalk would turn out to be completely true. The friends I made in college are still some of the people I hold most dear in my heart, and we absolutely love to get together and reminisce on old times. If I had crumbled and moved home after two weeks, I would have never met those friends, made those memories, been introduced to the love of my life or had the once in a lifetime college experience. You gave me the courage to stick it out and grow into the person that I am today.
When I look back on that day on that sidewalk all those years ago, and think about that special moment between just you and me, I can’t help but smile. It embodies our relationship and reminds me that without a mother like you, and those little moments together, my life would be completely different. A warm hug and a smile from you is enough to move mountains, Mom.
Thinking about all the things you have given me, taught me and instilled in me, I am in awe that the universe gifted me a mother like you. You are my rock, role model, protector, teacher, cheerleader and best friend. What I have learned in this life, I have learned from you, by listening to you, watching you and trying to be more like you.
You have always valued education. I remember you teaching me how to read before I even started Kindergarten; the trips to the Dollar Store to pick out a toy every time I earned A’s on my report card; how proud you were the day I graduated from college and earned my degree. From day one, you taught me the importance of becoming a smart and intelligent woman. Not every daughter has a mother that fights for her education and I consider myself beyond lucky.
You have always supported my dreams and passions. Since the age of four, soccer took up most of my time. I remember you spending your Saturday afternoons in the backyard challenging me to juggling competitions - the first one to juggle ten times with only our feet won. I remember you making my team’s uniforms for a summer tournament; the nights you spent helping me write letters to dozens of college coaches during the recruiting process; you and Dad driving the four hours to EVERY single home game I played in my four years of college. You taught me to dream BIG and stop at nothing to get there. Playing collegiate soccer was my dream and you helped give it wings.
You are compassionate, caring and generous. I remember going shopping with you for clothes, toys and food every Christmas to donate to charity; the proposal you wrote to gain funding and awareness for an organization supporting low-income families in our community; the hugs you gave to some of my teammates when they were going through a tough time. You taught me that “sugar is sweeter than spice” and that being kind doesn’t cost a thing, something this world could use a little more of.
You have proven to be a strong, independent woman and are one of the hardest workers I know. You are a working mom and help provide for your family alongside dad. I remember the overtime hours you spent working to make sure your children never went without; the nights you managed the house and two kids when dad was assigned to swing shift at work; you assuring me that I too am a strong and independent woman when I was scared to move overseas after college. Because of you, I am reminded of what it is to be courageous and brave, especially in times when I need it the most.
You know how to show love to people that mean the most to you. I remember you dropping everything to drive down to my college town to take care of me when I broke my arm; the scavenger hunts around the house you created for Dad leading him to his birthday gift; the delicious homemade meals you cook every time I come home from overseas. You taught me what it means to love someone else. Though it may look different to every person, I followed in your footsteps and learned how to love on people like there’s no tomorrow.
You have a silly sense of humor and a joy for the little things that brings a smile to my face. I remember the deep belly laughs we have playing Scattegories or Bananagrams; the happiness we find in perusing our favorite craft stores; the fun we have during our frequent Harry Potter marathons. I remember our secret handshake before every single one of my soccer games. You taught me to never take anything in life for granted, to find joy in the little moments so I’d never forget them. Because of you, my world is a little bit brighter, a little bit sillier and a lot more memorable.
I wish more than anything I could be with you on Mother’s Day to celebrate all that you are. But know that I think about you each and every day, and see myself becoming more and more like you with each passing moment. I chase a life filled travel, new experiences, overcoming challenges, endless happiness and a crazy love story because you taught me how. Have the most wonderful Mother’s Day, Mom!
I love you and miss you more than you know,
Megan Miller is a freelance writer and blogger currently traveling the world as her partner plays professional basketball. Born and raised just outside Seattle, Washington, Megan grew up playing every sport under the sun. She found her passion playing soccer at a young age and eventually earned a scholarship to play at Oregon State University. While earning her degree in New Media Communications, Megan helped produce the university sports show, managed public relations for the board of student-athletes, interned as a journalist for a national soccer website and made history on the soccer pitch with her teammates. Since graduating, she has found herself living in new cities around the globe while she and her partner chase their dreams. You can find more of Megan's story and her passions on her blog: www.designedbydaydreams.com.