An open letter to my mom

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Courtesy Photo.

Dear Mom,

I have known you for almost three decades now. Crazy, right?

The last few months have brought our family together in ways we were not expecting and it has given me time to consider our history together.

Now, every mom is special, and you are always the first woman to speak up in defense of motherhood in all its glorious forms, but because this is my column I get to talk about whichever mom I want, and I choose you.

Granted, we have been very blessed to live in relative peace and safety as a family. We have had hard times, but not as hard as some. We have had struggles, but we always come through.

However, that you are a mother to seven children, homeschooling them all in an era when stay-at-home moms are not given the respect and gratitude that society owes their tremendous contribution must not go unmentioned here.

You, an accomplished woman with a mind for business and an incredible go-getter work ethic, traded in your suits and paychecks and liberated lifestyle for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and days at the duck pond fighting off our nemesis, Mr. Goose, that huge feathered dragon. You have always been our knight in shining armor.

Of course, you would say it was no sacrifice at all. It was a privilege, a joy.

Well, having lived through my childhood and then having sat in front row seats to the decade of teenagerhood your oldest children trooped through, I think you and I can admit that we were not a joy to be around every day.

I mean, I was mostly okay, but we both know one amature arsonist in the family is one too many.

What would I do without those memories? What would I do without the friendships forged with my siblings through the years we spent learning together at home under the same roof, playing the same games, melting down all your special holiday candles so we could make finger molds out of the wax?

Mom, life has not been so easy for me these last few years. You never said it would be.

But you did tell me that it would be easier with siblings by my side and you were right. Those six people you brought up alongside me with carrot sticks on the kitchen floor and books in bed on nights when we were sick are the same people I turn to now when my mind is full or my heart is breaking. With them I share the joys of shared youth and the promise of a future, knowing that we will have each other when it matters.

You did something that isn’t popular these days. You stayed home and raised us. You raised a lot of us. And to do it the way you did was not without a personal cost.

I want you to know that you embody to me what it means to be a strong woman. You are counter-cultural. The values you have instilled in me are a compass in a stormy sea, guiding me through troubled waters – that life is worth fighting for, that strength comes in all shapes and sizes, that family is more important than money, that the relationships we build are the true measure of our success, that that little moments make big differences, that our choices will matter to the people who love us and so we must make them wisely.

But, Mom, the greatest thing you have given me, unquestionably, are my siblings. So, thank you.

Thank you for being our Mom.

I love you.

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