Thursday, July 26, 2018


June 25, 2018

Dear Mama,

You may have noticed that I’ve procrastinated a bit when it comes to writing some of the most obvious people to whom I am forever indebted. When it comes to some, I could write forever and still leave something out.  You are a prime example.  I’ve procrastinated because It’s so hard to envision where to begin— and then where to stop.  I’m going to suck it up and take a stab at yours with a different approach in an attempt to avoid the easy clichés and typical Hallmark Mother’s Day card drivel.  Here is a list of reasons I’m forever thankful for you.

Thank you—

1)     For marrying that cowboy from Texas who was so lonely he’d taken up needlepoint and, in a thick cloud of Aramis, swaggered into the needlecraft shop in Mississippi where you worked in search of raw materials.
2)     For putting up with him to this day.
3)     For the fateful bluff that brought about my conception.
4)     For every hour of sleep you lost, and every nasty diaper you changed as a new mom.
5)     For being brave enough to give me an amazing little sister after what my birth and infancy put you through.
6)     For the hundreds of times you tucked me into bed, sang Jesus Loves Me, and listened to me pray before I fell asleep.  Sometimes I wonder what the exact date was the very last time that happened.  There had to be a last time.  I wonder why that was the last time, and why I can’t remember it.
7)     For the times you answered my prayers with Christmas presents, and for the times you didn’t.
8)     For the countless hours spent reading to me instead of turning my mind over to a TV screen.  I owe my passion for words to that selfless investment of your time.
9)     For thousands of delicious Dagwood-worthy sandwiches made with love and more than three other components.
10)  For instilling in your kiddos a sense of fairness and justice.  One of us poured the can of Coke into two glasses, and the other chose their glass.  We could split atoms when it came to that one can per week that we had to share on Saturday.
11)  For investing all of your mad teacher skills in me via homeschool in Kindergarten and 1st grade.  I have no doubt the momentum from that academic head start carried through to the following 14 years.
12)  For sending me on to public school in the 2nd grade, so I didn’t become a total weirdo.  I needed socialization badly by that point.
13)  For supplementing my reading habit with those bi-weekly trips to Mt. Pleasant that required two library cards for one family.
14)  For all of the well-rounded dinners you cooked while working, mothering, and homemaking full-time.  Including Jell-O soup and chicken enchilada casserole, with or without beans.
15)  For every time you made me go outside and play.
16)  For every lunch you packed, for the lunchbox notes and, most of all, the ones that were poems. 
17)  For encouraging curiosity and fostering creativity.
18)  For letting me drive down the red dirt backroads of East Texas without a license.
19)  For your attention.  You were often my audience of one.
20)  For your example of steadfastness.  When people around you and close to you went through “phases,” you were steady as rock.
21)  For always, always being available for a hug.
22)  For trusting me enough to let me go on the day I turned 18.  I distinctly remember the first time I asked for your permission to do something after my 18th birthday.  You asked why I bothered to ask, since I was an adult.  The sense of responsibility that came with the mantle of your trust to make my own decisions and do the right thing proved to be one of the most powerful motivators in my life.
23)  For venturing all the way to the Pacific Northwest to visit us on your own.
24)  For not voting for Trump (or Hillary.) 
25)  For everything else I’m forgetting to mention.

I love you,

Your “baby boy”

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