What I would say to my mom (who’s still living)

I’m happy. That’s what I would say to my mom (who’s still living). I’m happy. You raised me well; you did a good job with me. I found someone at 18 that I could spend my life with, and 18 years later – I’m still HAPPY! Isn’t that what you wanted for me?
I mean, ultimately… yes, of course you wanted me to be successful (which by the way I am – a RN with my BSN, 3 post-baccalaureate certifications, and only 3 classes left to go towards my Masters). I was the youngest Nursing Supervisor at the largest women’s hospital in the world! I went to the best nursing school in the Southeast, almost completely paid-for by scholarships. I graduated Valedictorian of my class, was Class President all 4 years of high school. I can play the piano classically and by-ear. I don’t drink, smoke, have any tattoos, or cuss. I know that’s what you wanted as a Pastor of your children, right?

But again, the most important thing … is that I’m happy. I live a good life. I laugh all day. Do you remember I was so shy and sensitive as a child, I would cry if someone looked at me and smiled because I thought they were making fun of me? I had so much anxiety. When I was 10, you took me to a state piano competition at Clayton State University. I had my song perfected. I was set to win that competition. I sat down in front of the judges in a huge room with hardwood floors and large windows from top to bottom covering 75% of the wall space. I sat at the beautiful, black baby grand piano … and I froze. I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to do. I just looked at you, like help me. And you did. We left. And you didn’t make me feel bad about it. You said it was okay. I still remember riding in the blue Ford Aerostar minivan driving home at complete peace. I was disappointed in myself – but YOU were NEVER disappointed in me. You told me how proud you were of me for making it as far as I did and assured me I would do better next time; to not worry about it.
So why are you disappointed in me now? Because I’m with Anna – who also was the daughter of two pastors (not preachers), but pastors – also Pentecostal / Non-Denominational. Also, doesn’t smoke, drink, cuss or have tattoos. Lives her life for the Lord, like I do. Prays and reads the Word with me everyday. Reminds me (like you did every day before school), that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Prays for me when I’m discouraged. Believes in the working of the Holy Ghost and miracles, like we do. Led praise and worship for her entire church growing up (as I did as a pre-teen for you and dad in your children’s church). And also is never disappointed in me; even if I am disappointed in myself … just like you; she tells me it’s ok … you will do better next time.

But not only that, but she’s helped me overcome being so shy. I’ve learned from her how to better engage with people. We often laugh that without her, I would have no personality (which is a joke) – but seriously; being the extreme extrovert, most caring and loving person in the world – she has taught me how to ‘connect’ with people. Which has been transformative for me. Do you know what people say about us? Y’all light up the room when you walk in. We love having you here. Every time you walk in, the whole room lights up because of your light and energy. That’s what they say about me and Anna … the same Katie that would cry if someone looked at her and smiled because she thought they were making fun of her. Doesn’t that make you happy?
When I see people that have known me since I was a child around town, they’re happy to see me. When I tell them who I am, what I do, what my life’s about – they say they’re happy for me. So why did you tell Anna at Christmas, “you’re going to learn; I don’t care. I don’t care,” when she was trying to make small-talk with you after not seeing her or me in years. It’s been almost 19 years. When? When are you going to care? Ever? If you love someone, you care about them and who they care about.
I know you’re from a different generation. I understand that. I’m not asking you to change. So why are you asking me? I love you. Why don’t you love me? I mean really love me … for who I am? Katie. Your Katie Ann that was going to be named Faith, but once Dad saw me – he said; nope – that’s Katie, which means pure in heart.
I’m still that Katie; pure in heart.
I love you, Mom.

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