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An Open Letter to Mom on Mother's Day

May 10, 2015

Dear Mom:

It’s Mother’s Day and I am reminded once again that time and distance has separated us for another year.  It is that weekend each May that makes me reflect on how woefully short I have fallen over the years at letting you know how important you are to me. For as hard as you pushed me to be a good student in school, I clearly missed class on the day they taught “recognizing your mother".  So it is again that there is no Hallmark card in your mailbox that says “just the right thing”, or beautiful bouquet of roses arriving at your door today. I am sorry about that and I hope you will forgive me (again). A couple of years ago I started this blog to write about things that touched me in some way personally. So this year, in lieu of not getting anything again, I am writing this for you.

If I remember the story correctly from you I have been a pain in the ass before you even brought me into this world (in labor for over 20 hours?). Sorry about that—I can’t imagine. I have always been restless, impatient, and hated lines of any kind since then. After much work you finally did get me here and I have to say it’s been quite the adventure ever since. I especially liked it when you brought a brother and two sisters into the equation so I had someone to share this trip with over the years. You made sure all us kids were fed and clothed. You looked after us when we were sick and unconditionally loved us, despite the many days that no one in their right mind (other than a mother) would have done so. (God Bless all Moms for this trait).

Mom, you always looked out for me (probably more than you should have). Seemed like if I needed a couple of extra dollars for gas money to drive around, or to get a pizza on a weekend it would mysteriously appear. You always made sure I had a new pair of Converse high tops (back in the day those were the Air Jordan’s of the time) each year for basketball season (they were also clearly the best part of my game). You managed me through the trauma of two High School Proms. You weren’t a judgmental passenger when I was getting my drivers license (even though I am not a good driver to this day). You made sure that birthdays were special with all my favorite food and deserts. I can’t even remember when you quit doing my laundry (well into college). You have been there for my basketball, baseball, and football games. You attended scholastic bowl matches, band concerts and school plays. So much so that I am stunned that you don’t suffer permanently from a severe case of “bleacher ass”.  

You did all this stuff while working as a full time registered nurse. A damn good one too. It has never surprised me you became a nurse. Those kind of care givers have to have huge hearts and I don’t know anyone’s who is bigger than yours.  I am proud of you for all the people you have helped over the years. I am sorry if I have never said that to you before.  You would think that someone who works in a profession that demands strong communication that I would have done this before today. 

It dawns on me that many of my best and worst traits are straight from you. We are both loud and opinionated (among many other things). Deep down we both care about people even though on many occasions our delivery may miss the mark (believe me the delivery issue has plagued me for years).  The thing is—I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am tougher because of you and probably kinder and more caring than I would be otherwise.  All I know is that your raised four pretty successful kids and have touched thousands of lives along the way. You have been there in our greatest triumphs, cheering us on and in our darkest hours helping pick us back up. I have also learned along the way there is nothing better than truly making you mom proud (though my observation is it doesn’t take too much to make a mother proud). There is also absolutely nothing worse on earth than knowingly disappointing your mom. I apologize for all those times (I wish I could have them back and do them over).  I hope the proud moments have outweighed the disappointing ones.

So today mom I didn’t get you any cards, flowers, or candy again this year (put it on my tab). I just want you to know that even though time and distance have kept us apart, I do love you like only a son can love a mother. I don’t need a day in May to think each day about how I came into this world or how I have been able to stay in it for so long. My hope is today that you are doing something fun for yourself and having a toast to your good work. It’s not like you didn’t produce two pretty damn good mothers (Julie and Maranda) in addition to your own work. Also, don’t forget to take an hour of quiet contemplation and remember Grandma on your way down Mother’s Day memory lane today---no better role model than her was there? Happy Mothers Day!


“But there's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin.” ― Mitch Albom, “One More Day”


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