We live down the street from each other and see or speak to each other nearly every day. You and dad watch your granddaughter—my daughter—so I can get a break. When I was pregnant, you lived with us since I suffered from intense morning sickness, so it’s not like we don’t get a chance to talk. So what’s the point of this letter?
The point of this letter is to tell you all the things I want to say but don’t have the “courage” to tell you in person or say aloud.
You know I love you; this is nothing new. And you know I appreciate everything you have done for me and my family. But do you know just how much? All the good things I am are because of you.
When I was younger, I dreaded going to school because I was constantly bullied. You taught me that words can’t hurt me and showed me just how strong I could be. It’s during that period that I found myself through music and dance, which were lifesavers as a young girl. When the bullying continued and the school wasn’t helping with the situation, you marched into the principal’s office and demanded better attention on their part. And finally, things changed because of your persistence.
When I wanted to pursue a big dream (to become an opera singer), you encouraged me to follow my path. You were my cheerleader in the front row every time I sang. At the same time, you found ways to make me feel good about myself and encourage me while not sugar-coating anything. You were honest, which, as a parent, is not always easy.
When I wanted to make a big move (to Italy!), you helped me every step of the way, even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy. You told me it would be adventure, and boy, has it been.
Once I Became a Mother
At 33 years old and a mother myself, I see how difficult it is to be a mom: how hard things can get, how challenging it is to stay patient and calm, both for myself and my child, and how tough it is to balance being a wife and mother. Somehow, you have always made being a mother seem so natural. You recently said to me, “There are people who give birth and there are mothers.” You, my dear mom, are a mother.
I now see all the “invisible” things we do for our children, especially when they’re still so young. We can’t fully understand the love our parents have for us until we become parents ourselves.
I can imagine you watching me sleep in my crib as I breathe in and out. I know because I do the same thing. When you (and dad) told me how you would die for me, as a young woman, I honestly couldn’t quite understand that level of love. Now, as a parent, I know it to be true since I would do the same for my daughter in a heartbeat.
Being a mom is by far the most wonderful and yet most challenging job in the world. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Because of you, I don’t feel I “lost” who I was before I became a mother, but I instead gained a whole new perspective on life. And I prefer to look at the “sacrifices” I made for motherhood as an exciting new future created because of my daughter. You gave me that future 33 years ago, and now, I’m doing the same for her.
I Never Want to Leave Anything Unsaid
You know how you always hear people talk about what they wish they’d said to someone they loved while they still had the chance? While I know (hope) you’re going to be with us for a long time, there are moments when I think about all the things I wish I could have said to Grandma and never did. She’s been gone 20 years, but I wish I had the opportunity to tell her how much she changed my life, how much I loved and adored her, how I think about her every day, and how life has never been the same since she left this Earth.
So, to my beautiful mom:
I love everything you have made me and done for me. I have noticed how much you fight for me and know you always will. I love how you stay positive, strong, and brave. I love how much of a mom you are. And I know I’m lucky to have been raised by you.
I want you to know that even though, at times, I may not seem that grateful, I am. I am truly grateful for everything you (and dad) have done for me. You are my rock. You are my safe space. You are everything I hope to be.
I realize this is an intense declaration of love. I just don’t ever want to wish I had told you all of this and never did. I love you—always have, and I always will.