An Open Letter to My Mother.

Dear Mom,

Out of all the people in the world who know me, you are the only person who’s known me since before I was born; you carried me around before I was even aware of what you were doing. You likely had all kinds of ideas in your head then, of what the baby you were carrying was going to become, grow into, and be and you how you were going to help make that happen. At that point, these dreams, thoughts and ambitions were solely yours but over the past 25 years, they have become mine.

How? Because you fostered them. You raised me in such a way that my values, principles, personality, and the knowledge you’ve instilled in me of everything from knowing to look both ways before crossing the street, to giving me your battered “Everyone Knows this is Nowhere” LP so I could truly understand that Down By the River is one of the best songs ever, are as important to me as they are to you. And because I’ve always looked up to, I couldn’t be happier to share with you all the wonderful ideas and things that you find important.

 Sometimes I think about the highly, highly underrated precise skill that is “motherhood”. It’s not easy, and it’s not always ‘fun’ to be a parent. You have to sacrifice all your selfish youthfulness in lieu of taking responsibility for what you’ve created and ensuring that person has a happy life, home-y comforts and Oreos in the pantry as much as possible. I’m not keen on having children of my own but if I was, I would look at how someone like you did such a good job of raising two kids who are mostly happy, healthy productive members of society; who are witty and understanding and characteristically ‘good’ people who care about others, take responsibility for their actions, and managed all their lives to still come in out of the rain at a decent hour without EVER having been told when to come home; who have chosen their friends not by their popularity or ‘capital’ value, but by their personality and strong character. How did you do it? I believe it was by nurturing and loving us enough, that our biggest fear, more than getting in trouble, more than not being ‘cool’, more than anything else a child or adolescent worries about, was letting you down; destroying our reputation with you; eliminating that bond of trust and friendship. You managed to find the balance between being a ‘parent’ and being a close friend – it’s a line that you still walk with us today, even though we’re adults.

You don’t know everything about me; there are some very fundamental things in fact, about my life, past and present, that I keep from you. But being the amazing parent that you are, you’ve respected those boundaries in profound ways; you never intrude on my business; in fact, you encourage me and always have, to live the life I want to live. You encouraged me to apply for graduate school even though I didn’t really have the money to do it; you let me know about things I shouldn’t be spending money at like sales and record collector shows and dessert buffets, just because you know they would make me happy. Ultimately, I believe that’s always been your goal: to make me happy. The way I am and the way my life has been, I’m not always happy. Keeping me happy is a struggle for myself and probably a struggle for those around me too; but you never tire of it.

For these reasons and more—so much more— I feel as though I am lucky to have such an amazing mom: one who has, since the day I was born, to today as I sit here writing this, has maintained that to make me happy makes her happy; who has expressed how deeply self-conscious she is of ever embarrassing her kids; who rather us go out and spend time with our friends than go visit her(though oftentimes, I prefer the latter); who once, after some of my high school tormenters took it upon themselves to write scathing things on my locker in pen, went to the school with a bucket of soapy water and washed them all off to take matters into her own hands since the staff at the high school did nothing.

Thanks,Ma. Happy Mothers’ Day.

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