Dear Mom, Thank you for always referring to me as a “surprise” instead of an “accident.” It’s always made me feel special and wanted.
Thank you for telling me the story about when I was born – about how I came out screaming, and you knew I was going to be a handful. I love when you tell that story, mainly because of the look you get in your eyes when you tell it. (And you were right, weren’t you?)
You’ve always believed in me, and you always said I could do whatever I wanted, if I put my mind to it. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for your example. I remember you sitting at the dining table, so many nights, doing homework. Studying and taking night classes, so you could get your degree, advance your career, and help provide for our family. Somehow you managed to do all that, and still find time make me my favorite spaghetti dinner.
Thank you for always having my back, and standing up for me when Papa and I didn’t get along. You had to fight for me to be able to go to a school dance, but you made it happen! I remember feeling so frustrated at times, and you would always just smile softly and say, “We’ll find a way.” And somehow we did. You did.
Thank you for the faith you’ve always had in me. I’ve always had a fair share of self-confidence, and that’s because I could always feel how strongly you believed in me.
“You can do whatever you want to, Dottie. And I’ll help in whatever way I can.”
You did help, Mom. A lot. You helped show me what it is to be a strong, intelligent, independent woman. But for all your strength and independence, you never lost your caring, compassionate nature. You always think of others before yourself, and you give so freely. I know there were people in your past who hurt you – both emotionally and physically. I know because, you’ve trusted me enough to share your history with me.
It always amazes me how you’ve been hurt in the past by others, yet you’ve been able to turn around and treat people with love and kindness, sometimes even people who treated you poorly. But you’ve always done it with dignity and self-respect. You have a forgiving heart, but you don’t take anyone’s shit, and I love that about you.
I love your open-mind, and your ability to see people without judgment. Those qualities you have remind me so much of another beloved woman, who I know you miss dearly.
Thank you for your continuous love and support in all my endeavors. You truly helped me grow my wings. And I know it was the hardest thing for you to do when you let me fly away. Your heart broke when I left for college, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I was so caught up in new, exciting life adventures, and I didn’t call or visit home as much as I should have. But you still gave me the freedom to fly, to live, and to learn.
I have so much gratitude for that.
I know when my baby grows up and goes away to college or wherever life may take him, I will be a wreck. Just thinking about it now, fills my eyes with tears. But I will do my best to summon the courage you’ve instilled in me, so that I may have the strength to let him fly, the same way you did for me.
I just hope to God, I’m blessed enough to have you there when it happens, and to hug me while I cry. Because I know you will understand. You always have.
I have faith that you’ll be there, and we will talk and laugh over coffee con leche and pan dulce, and you’ll smile and say, “Dottie, it’s gonna be ok.” And I will find comfort in your words, because I know they will come from a place of wisdom and experience.
Thank you, Mom, for all your sacrifices, for the life you’ve given me, and for being you.
Te amo con todo mi corazón. Para siempre.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photos: courtesy of the author