Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Love Letter for My Mother

My Mom is an amazing woman. I know most people think this about their mother (or they should), but I know it is a fact with my mom. She is one of those people that truly is selfless, a rare and beautiful bird in this jungle. She has been married to my father, another amazing person, for almost 51 years and theirs is a love story of faith, determination, acceptance, fulfillment, and most of all the deepest kind of love and respect for each other that we all dream of in our own lifetimes.
My parents raised four kids, we all went to college and onto life and into our own marriages, the least amount of years being mine, all fifteen years of it and happily counting. They showed us you hang in there, you care, you don't always get your way, and you always say I love you, and mean it.
My mom is my best friend, but it wasn't always that way. I was a typical crazy, irresponsible teenager and I still remember her telling me there was nothing I could do that would make her not love me. Those words mattered, and I have said them to my own daughter as well. I remember being embarrassed, in typical teenage fashion, by her unfashionable white socks and mothering ways, and now I look back on that time and know how lucky I was, and am. I had one of those moms who was actually home when you came home from school every day, she baked cookies weekly, and set the table and cooked meals on a shoestring. She also listened, and cared. We didn't have a ton of money, but I never knew it or felt its pain, my parents kept that to themselves and let us be children, and my mom went without often. Once, when we had an argument on a Friday evening, I stomped off with my friends to the high school football game, and later my sister found me, with a hand written note from my mom, saying she was sorry. I couldn't believe my eyes, and it changed me. I will never forget that she showed me what it was like to love, always.
My mom was diagnosed last March with ALS. It is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It has been a tough year for my family, for my parents. Sometimes its felt like the longest goodbye ever, and it has made us feel angry, sad, sleepless, helpless, worried. It has also made our close family, closer. As my sister said, she has learned you don't get to choose what happens to you in this life, but you can choose what you do with it, and we have all chosen to spend more time together, to find joy and peace and even laughter in the right now. My mother has chosen, as always, to put her family first, to love her husband every minute, to show each of us how to have a life well lived. She never stops giving either. A quilter for many years, she continues to sell her miniature quilts on the Alzheimer's Association website to honor her father and mother in law. From her wheelchair, she chooses to keep giving. I chose this Mother's Day to tell you, Mom, I love you, I am proud to be your daughter, I know I will always have you with me. Love, your daughter

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