Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom! Today is my Mom's birthday and I wrote her a letter. I wanted to share it with you all, but mostly it is for her.

Dear Mom,

When I was a little girl, there was someone I wanted to be when I grew up.

My friends and I would play dolls, family, house and cook play-dough meals with enough leftovers to feed a crowd. I wanted three kids, two boys and a girl. You always let me play. You always let me have a sleep-over and eat ice cream and grow up in just the right way. You gave me curfews and told me if my pants were too tight (and still do). You told me I was beautiful and mature and your girl.

You picked Sarah and I up once, we were 15 I think. We drove the long drive from Appleton to Madison, or was it the opposite? I’m not sure. You and I, we talked the whole trip. After Sarah and I got out of the car and were alone together she said “you and your mom talk a lot! I can’t believe you could talk that whole time.” I thought, well, of course. It always happens on a long drive with you and me. The radio gets turned down, and we talk. Sometimes the radio won’t get turned up for 2, 3, 4 hours into the drive. And if the radio is on, we sing songs together, I’ll sing the words and you’ll hum and mumble along. It doesn’t matter if we see each other everyday or if we haven’t seen each other for a month—we talk and sing the same, like friends. Best friends.

When I wanted to try something new, you supported me. You took me to art class, and gym class and all my soccer practices and games. You let me try ballet and tap and piano lessons. You paid for my guitar lessons and my guitar. You taught me. Kindergarten through high school, you were my teacher. My favorite teacher.

You have taught me more than any person in my life. I can say that, and mean it.

When I could have gone to school, you taught me yourself. I am more thankful for that than you know. You taught me Latin and Classical education and you took me to Europe. You even tried to teach me math. We both learned to dislike it, you all over again and I for the first time.

Art. My love of art comes from you. My knowledge of art comes from you.

“Always look at the names on the plaques, Emma; you’ll want to remember them someday.”

When I wanted something of yours, you gave it freely. You always let me raid your jewelry box and your make-up. Your make-up becoming mine only a matter of days after you bought it for yourself. You are not greedy and you do not hold on tightly to possessions. You have taught me to be selfless; you are still teaching me how to be selfless. Who else could I ever want to be?

When I struggled with who I should be, you showed me who I could be. You have taught me to love. You are strong. You are kind. You are funny and gentle and humble. You do not boast and you are not proud. You are smart, intelligent and a beautiful person. The greatest woman in my life. Did you know that all along? Did you think that when I was a little girl, your little girl? That I was looking up at you? I don’t think I knew it myself. I’m wearing your earrings as I write this to you.

When I grow up, that someone I would like to be is you.


P.S. Thank you.

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