It was after I had my first two kids. I can't even remember the specific situation, but I remember calling my mom and just saying, "I'm sorry". It had finally occurred to me how much she had sacrificed over the years as the matriarch of our family. She had not complained or drawn attention to it which is probably why it took so long for me to notice.
As I get older and more experienced in the mom department, I see the selflessness it takes to be a good mom. The times when you go without so your kids can have what they need. The way we think of the things that they would enjoy instead of the things we would. The way we struggle with their disciplining and training so that they will grow up to be the kind, loving, responsible people we want them to be. The kind of people this world needs them to be.
I have gray hair just like my mom had at my age. I have her skin, which is a blessing. She has amazing skin even in her 60's. I hear myself repeating things from my childhood; did I REALLY just say that? I find myself understanding now what and why she did things that I didn't understand then.
I get it now, Mom. You said one day, when I had kids, I would see; now I do. So, to my Mom, I want to say thanks. You did your best and it was good, very good.