It is your birthday tomorrow, and I want to make up for all the lame gifts I’ve given you over the years (ahem) with a few words of sincere gratitude.
At long last, I am now a mother of two, just like you. Now I see what you went through and what you faced to keep Dusty and me healthy and happy. Of course, I haven’t yet understood what it means to deal with the implications of a seriously hormonal teenage daughter or a son who decides to enlist in the Air Force during a war. But I have glimpsed just enough to know that you have suffered and sacrificed in the name of motherhood. For all of it, I thank you.
Thank you for scratching my back while we watched TV.
Thank you for working from home so I never had to carry a key around my neck.
Thank you for giving me “the talk,” even though it would be many years before I would have a clue what a vulva is. (And who am I kidding? I still don’t really know.)
Thank you for paying through the nose for nearly 10 years of piano lessons.
Thank you for your incredibly forgiving and youthful genes.
Thank you for sticking by Dad’s side.
Thank you for enduring every single play and recital, for never making me wonder if you’d show up.
Thank you for insisting that we play outside while the sun was up.
Thank you for every time you had to erase and rewrite each of my phone numbers and addresses in your address book. There were quite a few.
Thank you for giving me a sibling.
Thank you for spanking me when I bit him that time on the wagon. You know the one.
Thank you for dealing with all the stupid boyfriends.
Thank you for caring about pretty things, for not letting me wear pantyhose and lipstick like the other girls in fourth grade, and for helping with questions of taste.
Thank you for sending me to college.
Thank you for letting me go 3,000 miles away for it, for never guilting me into staying close by.
Thank you for all the birthday parties, including the one where we ate outside but the wind kicked dirt in everyone’s eyes so we all had to pack inside our tiny house and my friends spread Barbie shoes into every nook and cranny.
Thank you for trying to teach me how to drive. And thank you for driving me from here to kingdom come before I could do it myself.
Thank you for hosting our wedding in your home.
Thank you for being so faithful to me even when I am a raging mess.
Thank you for all the little packages, the notes, the gifts.
Thank you for bending over backwards to defend me, protect me, love me, and nurture me. I want to be just like you when I grow up.