An Open Letter To My Mom

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dear Mom,

You may be wondering what prompted a letter for you on a seemingly random Tuesday afternoon. Right now, I'm sitting across from you at our little round kitchen table doing homework. You’re grading papers, and I’m trying to figure out how I turn 18 in less than 2 weeks. (I’m also trying to figure out how you’re sitting with the posture only a queen possesses after an 8 hour day at school. Further proof that you’re really a queen, but more on that later.) You asked me earlier today if you’ve done enough for me throughout my life. I immediately told you yes, but I think you deserved a longer answer. So this is it.

Nearly 18 years ago, you welcomed a tiny baby girl into your life, and you thought you were terribly blessed. The funny thing is, I think that tiny baby girl with curly blonde ringlets was more blessed than you and dad combined. I may have gotten dad’s curly hair, dark eyebrows, and legs that go on for miles, but I love you for giving me your smile that lights up your whole face and your little nose with the perfect sprinkling of freckles on it.  I could never hate what I see when I look in the mirror because my reflection is a constant reminder of one of my favorite people in the world. When you asked if you had done enough for me throughout my life, I was left speechless not because I didn’t have an answer but because I had no idea where to start. If only you could see yourself through my eyes for one day.

When I was less than 2 years old, you were the first person I ever offered my juice to, and as you and I both know, that’s a big deal. I guess I can say you were my best friend from the start. You may be wondering why I always say you’re my “best friend” or “favorite person” instead of something having to do with being my mom. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Everyone has a mom, but not everyone has a best friend like you. I would consider my life well lived if I grow up to be half the woman that you are today.

All of your students always ask me if you ever get mad at home because you’re always so patient and kind at school. Of course you get mad; you’re human, but that’s not the point. I’ve seen you up at 5 in the morning before school and working long after the sun has set. I’ve seen you help students when all you want to do is go home and take a nap. I’ve seen you go out of your way to make someone feel important and wanted. I’ve seen you do random little acts of kindness that you think nobody ever noticed. I’ve seen you transform someone’s bad day when yours is going no better. I’ve seen you use the 24 hours you are given in a day to do more things than BeyoncĂ© could ever dream of doing. I’ve seen you put others before you time after time again. I’ve seen you take my side and stand by me even when I was wrong. The fact is, while you do get tired, grumpy, and hangry, I could never repay you for everything you’ve done. You deserve the entire world and then some.

In less than a year everything is going to change, and it’s made me think of what I’ve taken for granted. I always try to find joy in the ordinary, yet there’s so much joy in my life that I’ve overlooked. There’s nothing I love more than your happy good mornings even when it’s way too early to function. I love your laugh that can be heard from across the room and the wrinkles around your eyes from smiling too much. I love when we sing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs in the car and walking with you for hours; whether it be on a hot summer morning or rainy winter night. I love how you make me and everyone around you better. I love the sparkle in your eyes when you read a good story and how you love chocolate chip cookies more than life itself. I love how you talk to random babies in Target and how you name our cars. I love how we climbed a mountain together this summer, and saw people that looked like little ants and mansions that looked like doll houses. I love when you steal my music playlists and pretend they’re yours and how it’s like breathing a breath of fresh air when you walk into a room. I love how you love tall trees and the smell of freshly cut grass.

And most importantly, I love those moments when everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong, yet at the same time, everything seems like it’s going to be okay. We have not shared one moment together that is absolutely perfect, yet we’ve had countless moments full of indescribably joy that oddly resemble ordinary life. Time seems to stand still in these moments, and I realize that perfection is overrated.

In the back room of our house, we have a wooden cabinet that is overflowing with photo albums and memories. There are blurry pictures, pictures of places I’ve forgotten all about, and pictures of countless adventures that we’ve gone on together. Have you done enough for me? Not one of those pictures is us in front of the Colosseum or eating lunch on the Riviera. But I wouldn’t trade those backyard picnics and peanut butter sandwiches cut into triangles for a whole lifetime of Parisian nights. I love you more than fuzzy socks and rainy days and big green smoothies after long runs. And that’s a lot. There are 7 billion people out there who have no idea who you are, and I am so thankful that I am one of the lucky ones whose life has been graced by your presence. Over the years you have helped me cultivate the habit of being grateful so this is me, giving you a long overdue thank you. 

Thank you for being you.


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9 Happy Thoughts

  1. This is so wonderful! My heart is melting :D XOXOXOXO

  2. WOWOWOW what a letter, this is AMAZING. I adore your relationship with your mom. This is how it should be.

  3. This brought tears to my eyes. Katherine, you're such an amazing woman and you always compliment my blogs, but girl, YOU are an awe-inspiring writer. I'm sure your mom is beyond the moon proud of you and moved by this. Congrats to her for creating such an amazing person. I want to write something like this for my mom. You captured everything so perfectly. :)

  4. Dear Katherine, I wish I had your ability with words to let you know how much this means to me. You are running on the treadmill--being your disciplined self, and I am sitting at the computer crying. When I think about you going away next year, I feel proud, happy, and so sad. I am glad we don't waste our time together. YOU are the wonderful one. And I love you so. Love, the original recipient of your juice

  5. This is such an amazing letter to your Maa.. Katherine! ! So touching and brilliantly written. . :)

  6. I know this made your mother cry like a baby. You have such a talent to describe everything perfectly. I can't believe you're going to be 18!!!! Love you too much!

  7. omgomgomgomg. KATHERINE. Why are you so perfect and such a perfect writer and perfect mom and ugh. You have such a way with words. I'd really like to meet your mom someday because she sounds like such an amazing and inspiring person. I'm so happy to have a special relationship with my mom too, like you said: some people don't get to have that friendship and that's really a sad thing. Can I just come visit you? Like seriously?

  8. You certainly made your mom happy with this! The ability to be so appreciative (and to express it) will certainly make both you and your loved ones very happy in your life. You are a very thoughtful young woman to be both looking forward to college and anticipating looking behind at your time at home.


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