Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my Mom's 81st birthday. Last year we had a big party for her so I guess the rest of her life will just be icing on the cake. I was cleaning out a drawer a few weeks ago and ran across this letter I wrote to her on January 1st of 1998. My daughter was only 2 1/2 then. I'm not sure what prompted me to write it, maybe it was long overdue or because it was the first of the year and I wanted to start the year out on a right and just path. Or maybe after now having my own child, I just got it. But whatever the reason was, I'm glad I did it.

Dear Mom,

I wanted to thank you for Christmas this year and all the Christmases in the past.

As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I realize what parents do to sacrifice for their children. I realize that I am probably not having to sacrifice as much for my daughter as you did for us when we were growing up. And I know that you sacrificed far more than Dad ever did. The way I see it is that for every penny you saved for something, he could spend twice as much in an afternoon. So you had to personally sacrifice twice as much just to get by.

But I did not see that then. I saw that every Christmas we had lots of gifts and food, and yes despite what you think I feel about Dad we did have fun. We had lots of fun. And summer vacations were also great. Although I don't care if I ever go camping again, it was fun then. And I know how much that must have set you back for those Christmases, vacations and everything in between.

Now, on the subject of Dad. I don't really feel the anger I felt years ago. I just feel sad when I think of him. Mostly for what should have been, or could have been. I loved him so much but I really never felt that returned. I know he loved me, but the only time he said it is when he was drunk. Then by the next day everything would be forgotten, even those words. And I am sad that he was compelled for whatever reason to self-destruct for all those years and to take us along for the ride. It wasn't always a fun ride. But mostly I feel that you deserved better. I think he was probably the love of your life and sometimes love rules all. But I feel that you may have settled for something less than you deserved.

I am not angry at you either, and I'm sorry if it was ever perceived that way. I guess I was just frustrated on how our life was and that you were unable to change it. I suppose you tried at one time or the other. But with someone who is very determined not to change, there is not much you can do.

So before anymore time passes between us and I would have to regret it for the rest of my life, I wanted to Thank You. Thank You for the sacrifices you made for us and to make our lives as normal as possible. Thank You for putting on a brave and happy face even when you didn't feel like it. Thank You for showing me your strength in recent years with all the heartache you have been through. I think if I was ever faced with those same problems I couldn't be as strong. And I hope that if I ever am, I will have you to lean on.

My daughter must tell me 20 times a day she loves me and I tell her I love her too. She is a very affectionate child and I hope she never changes. But I'm sure she will a little and I may not hear it as often. I don't remember what kind of a child I was and I don't know if I told you enough that I loved you. So if you're not balling your head off enough yet, I want to tell you that I love you very much and I always will.

So are you crying yet? Is there a letter you've always wanted to write but haven't yet?


bill said…
I suppose we all have some regrets for things we did or didn't do. I'm sure your mom appreciated your letter. Better done than regrets for not having done cit.
These are not tears. There is something in my eye.
Mr. Shife said…
What a wonderful letter, and I hope your Mom appreciated you telling her thank you. I am doing my best trying to not have any regrets and letting people know how I feel about them and thanking them for the role they played in my life. Just last month I wrote a letter or email to 21 people letting them know how grateful I was for them. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.
Claire King said…
Beautiful kden. Simply...beautiful.
Peruby said…
It is just amazing what our Mothers had to endure in an age where they were blamed for their husbands' behavior. I remember well my Mother dealing with a lot of the same issues you speak of.

I guess it makes us who we are, but damn why did they have to suffer so much?
Grumpy said…
Very nice sentiment. Since you have the letter does that mean it was never sent?
kden said…
I guess I didn't mention that Grumpy. Yes I did give it to her and the last I saw of it, she had it in her strongbox so it must have been a 'keeper'.
ethelmaepotter! said…
Oh yes, I'm crying. And thinking about the letters that need to be written...and sent. Your mom sounds like an amazing woman, and I'm sure you're every bit as strong as she is.

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