Erma Bombeck is by far my favorite non-fiction writer. Her books make me laugh and even though they were written decades before I became a mother they still speak to the exact same struggles I deal with every day. Her essay below, “I Love You Enough” was written 4 years before I was born yet I am sure every mother today can relate to all of these reasons she lists. If you are having one of “those” days read this and know that you are not alone!
I Loved You Enough to… January 6, 1976
“You don’t love me!”
How many times have your kids laid that one on you? And how many times have you, as a parent, resisted the urge to tell them how much?
Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I’ll tell them:
I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home.
I loved you enough to insist you buy a bike with your own money even though we could afford it.
I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your friend was a creep.
I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way with a bite out of it to the drugstore and confess, “I stole this.”
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your bedroom, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to say, “Yes, you can go to Disney World on Mother’s Day.”
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust and tears in my eyes.
I loved you enough not to make excuses for your lack of respect or your bad manners.
I loved you enough to admit that I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness.
I loved you enough to ignore what every other mother did or said.
I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall, hurt and fail.
I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your own actions at age 6, 10 or 16.
I loved you enough to figure you would lie about the party being chaperoned but forgave you for it— after discovering I was right.
I loved you enough to accept you for what you are, not what I wanted you to be. But, most of all, I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.
Bombeck, Erma (2013-01-15). Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing From America’s Favorite Humorist (p. 42). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.