A Letter to My Mother
Last Mothers Day I sent this letter to my Mom, who is 87 years old. She lives in an assisted living facility in another state, so I don’t see her as much as I would like. For Mothers Day, I felt the need to tell her what she has meant to me. She told me after she received it that it was the best, most meaningful gift I could ever have given her. Mission accomplished.
I hope this is an inspiration to others: to WRITE YOUR MOTHER!
This year instead of sending flowers I wanted to send you something else, a message from my heart. I am a writer, so I will try to put into words this Mothers Day what my mom means to me, and these words will be your gift. I am reminded of the importance of expressing oneself to those we love, not in a memorial after they are gone, but while they are living.
You have often said you regret not attending college and acquiring a formal education, yet you have made as much of an impact on the world as any educated person I know. What you achieved in your life is remarkable. You sent 5 children out into the world, armed with all the very basic things that any individual needs to not just succeed but to be a positive influence: the knowledge that we were truly loved by our parents and therefore had a sense of confidence and self-worth; a solid moral compass that made the difference between right and wrong very clear, so we were able to make good choices; a strong work ethic so we didn’t give up easily and valued what we earned; the desire to seek knowledge and better ourselves and to be open to new experiences; the importance of showing compassion and helping others; and a sense of humor and fun. For this alone, your life was a life well spent.
But there was so much more. To think of you, a little person not much over 5 feet tall, working like you did and accomplishing all that you did, is simply still hard to comprehend after all these years. It seems truly superhuman in retrospect. When I think how you ran a farm and a business with Dad, all the while caring for a large family and getting a full course meal on the table EVERY NIGHT, taking care of a large farmhouse with the cleaning and laundry made by a family of 7, keeping up a property full of beautiful flowers and foliage, canning and freezing so you could economize and still provide healthy food to eat over the winter, lending your beautiful voice to the church choir, entertaining any number of family and friends that would show up on the doorstep expecting a wonderful meal, and at the same time, keeping your mind on raising us right and keeping us on the straight and narrow. I remember your lectures, delivered while you were at the stove in the kitchen, making sure your chicks were tended to not only physically, but emotionally and morally as well.
You should look back on your life and not be anything but very, very proud of what you did and what you accomplished. There is no one like you.
As a child, you don’t know anything other than the life and family you are given, so you take what you have for granted. It is not until you grow up that you come to clearly see what you had and to appreciate its value. How sincerely I appreciate having a mother who truly, deeply cared for her children. There was nothing false or pretentious about it. It was real and true and pure. How proud I was in the knowledge that my mom was respected and admired by all the adults around her, and that respect was reflected in the way all of we children were treated by the community.
Life was often hard for us and there was considerable struggle and some sad times, but in my mind, this fades in the light of all that we had and all that we were, and some very precious memories. These memories are the things that make up a life, and our Mom was the center of it. You made me who I am, you made us the family we were, and I am deeply grateful to have been blessed with the best mother in the world.
Happy Mothers Day