The Reader’s Digest version of this letter is this: I want to be the kind of mother that you were and are.
If I had written the original draft of the long version instead of typing it, you would see line after crossed-out line. It has proven difficult to write. I can’t find the words that would really express all the ways that you have influenced my life for good.
I guess it’s hard to pin down those influences; you have never been into Parenting Philosophies. I can’t sum up your mothering style by matching you up to Spock or Sears.
You insisted that I sit on your lap every day before school long after I thought I was too big to do so. You worried about every cough and about every bike ride that took me out of your sight. You weren’t afraid to lay down the law when I sassed or disobeyed you. You celebrated every good grade and clapped enthusiastically at every performance.
You cooked thousands of suppers. You threw birthday parties and planned family vacations. You corrected my grammar and insisted that I finish my homework before I watched Melrose Place (and you hinted, ever so subtly, that perhaps Melrose Place was not the high-quality program I thought it was. You were so right. Gilmore Girls is way better.).
And then, you let go. This, I know now, is probably the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a mother. To watch as I gradually took steps farther and farther from you, to sit back and wait for me to ASK you for advice before you gave it — that must have gone against the grain. I can get myself all misty-eyed when Raisin gets her own fork from the drawer (“she doesn’t need me anymore!”), so I can’t imagine what I’ll do when she learns to drive or goes to college.
Well, actually, I do know what I’ll do. I’ll call you and ask for your advice. Just like I do almost every day, and I hope that you see those phone calls for what they really are: the highest form of praise for a job well done.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.