(a future letter to me from my son on Mother’s Day 2021. He’ll be 15 years old then.)
Today’s assignment in my high school English class is to write a letter to our mothers. It has to be between 600-700 words. Our teacher told us to think of a phrase or a sentence that best expresses how we feel about our moms and elaborate on why we feel that way.
I know many people in my class are choosing to say “I love you”.
But you already know that.
I’m choosing to say simply “Thank You”.
Thank you for being the first one to really understand me.
Thank you for the countless hours you spent on the phone with the doctor when I was a toddler, trying to figure out why I wouldn’t eat.
Thank you for being by my side during my sleep study to find out why I wouldn’t sleep. And thank you for ignoring the doctor’s advice to just let me cry all night until I got sick. You knew it was something more than me just being a stubborn kid.
Thank you for sleeping next to me all those years until I was able to comfort myself enough to do it alone.
Thank you for letting me climb into your lap whenever I needed to.
Thank you for squeezing me tight when I asked, and for knowing when I needed a squishy hug even when I didn’t know myself.
Thank you for taking the time to fill out the piles of paperwork to get me the help I needed. I know you cried every time you answered those questions.
Thank you for knowing that I needed that help. For understanding that this was not about you, but about me. Thank you for asking the right questions over and over again.
Thank you for all the times you had to leave birthday parties with me. And family gatherings. And movie theaters.
Thank you for understanding that when I hit or yelled or lashed out at you, it wasn’t out of anger. It was because I lacked the ability to tell you how I felt with my words. Thank you for holding me tight until I calmed down, and teaching me to find the right way to express myself.
Thank you for explaining me to my brothers and your friends. I never wanted anyone to think I was a bad kid. You took every opportunity to educate people about me. Our family understood me before I understood myself. I may have SPD and autism, but you didn’t let that decide who I was for everyone else.
Thank you for every mile you drove to therapies for me. Thank you for living through every anxiety attack when we started at a new place, and enduring every meltdown when we left.
Thank you for sometimes choosing my brothers’ needs over mine. It taught me that we were a family and not one of us is more important than another one.
Thank you for every sleepless night before an IEP meeting.
Thank you for not making me feel different. You never let me feel strange or uncomfortable, even though my body seemed strange and uncomfortable. When I was old enough to understand, you explained to me why I felt like I did, and taught me how to live in my own skin.
Thank you for letting me be me.
And most of all, thank you for being MY mom.
I am now right between 600 and 700 words, so I have to stop here.
Happy Mother’s Day.
“One bright and shining light,
That taught me wrong from right,
I found in my mother’s eyes,
Those baby tales she told,
That road all paved with gold,
I found in my mother’s eyes,” – My Mother’s Eyes from the film “Lucky Boy”