A letter to daughters: Just say “I love you”


Columnist Jennifer Ladwig with her mom, Diane Ladwig, after her high school graduation in June 2014.

Mom, I love you. Those should be the first words out of your mouth anytime you see your mom. The reasons are endless: Besides the obvious fact that she gave birth to you and without her you wouldn’t exist, she also raised you for 18 years, put up with your shenanigans, and went through the turmoil of the teen years with you.

As often depicted in cartoons, moms are the superheroes of our world, without the capes.

I have always been close with my mom. I was never very good at dealing with hard times and emotions, so I would always vent to my mom and get advice. I used to tell my mom everything in the world, until I came to college.

Now, not only have I become an irresponsible adult who doesn’t know how to make good choices, I have also become insanely busy to the point where I am never at home and available to talk to my parents. When I went home last summer, I felt uncomfortable in my own town, like I didn’t belong there anymore. This made me go out a lot, visiting old friends, making new ones. I worked three jobs, and I was never home.

The day my parents dropped me back off at school, right before they left, my mom told me how much she missed me, how it felt like I didn’t want to be home. It broke my heart, because I knew that she was right. Yes, I was at home physically, but emotionally it was the last place I wanted to be. My friends were at school, my work was at school, most of my clothes and belongings were at school, and I had left behind some hard memories in my hometown that just resurfaced when I went back.

I was distant over summer, and I know it hurt my mom, and this last year I grew out of that aloof personality, and I learned that I need to enjoy my time with my mom while I can, because it’s just going to get less and less.

I know not everyone gets like this with their parents. I have friends who are just as close with their parents as ever. It’s just important to remember why you love your parents, why they love you, and remember to show it to them. Mom’s Weekend is meant for you to be able to show your mom your school, engage with her through some activities and introduce her to your friends.

All of this is fine and great, but I would encourage everyone to take some time to be alone with your mom this weekend. Take a walk, talk over a cup of coffee, sip on a mimosa in the grass, but take a break to have a heart-to-heart. Nobody will ever love you as much as your parents, and there is a maternal bond that cannot be replaced. Take advantage of that love and advice this weekend, because the next few weeks are going to go by fast.

Some of us are freshmen, and next month will be a scramble to get living situations finalized and get moved out of the dorm. Some of us won’t be coming home over the summer, so this might be the last time you get to see your mom for a while. And some are graduating, in which case the next time you see your mom will be very emotional and hectic, because nobody really knows what they’re supposed to do once they leave college.

So, sit down, take a break, and tell your mom you love her.

Even if she isn’t coming to Pullman for Mom’s Weekend, give her a call and let her know you appreciate her. You’ll make her day.