Any of you have younger siblings? More specifically, do any of you have younger sisters? You know, the type of younger sister who would blackmail you in a heartbeat once she discovered a hidden stash of Milwaukee’s Best in the back of your closet, if it meant she could get a pack of Garbage Pail Kids out of it?
Yeah, I have one of those, too.
To be fair, those days were long ago. These days, my sister is the mother of three remarkable boys, and an all-around upstanding member of society. Back then, she was, well… not.
But that’s neither here nor there. This week is about a common love we share — our mother. My sister has taken issue over the years, if you can believe it, with me using this space to pen a personal letter to our mother each Mother’s Day. To my sister, this is me being cheap, and not spending money on a card or present. To me, it’s a public declaration of my appreciation and love to a woman who has sacrificed nearly everything for me.
Also, it’s free.
But since I am always the bigger person (leave your fat jokes at the curb), I will donate this space to my sister this year so she can write her own letter of love to our mother. This way, she can take the time to truly map out her deepest feelings and put them together in such a manner to touch my mother at her very core, cementing a loving relationship between them that will forever be centered on the incredibly emotional words you are about to read today.
Or, I can save my sister all that time and aggravation of writing a column and just throw it together for her. You know, I can just channel her inner feelings and ghost-write it for her, leaving her more time to enjoy her family and focus on her career. I’m a good person. A really, really good person.
So, without further ado, I present this heartwarming declaration of love, from the heart of my sister to the soul of my mother.
I don’t even know where to start. Do I begin by telling you how grateful and proud we are that you are the fighter you are and continue to be here with us today? Do I thank you for teaching me how to both be a strong, independent woman and also a doting, loving mother? Do I apologize profusely for just not being as astonishingly attractive as my saintly older brother, Darin? I mean... who is?
I guess the most important thing I can say here is, “Thank you.” Thank you for continuing to pull me into a hug even during those times we might have been clashing. Thank you for teaching me that so much about being a mother is teaching.
Thank you for driving me back and forth from one dance class to another, and then to swim practice, and back home so I can still get to my softball game that night. It’s taken me three kids of my own to fully appreciate that you weren’t just a cheap taxi service to serve at my pleasure.
I guess right below the “Thank you” would be “I’m sorry.” I feel like just about every person in the world who has had a parent, guardian, teacher, coach, boss or spiritual advisor could stand to apologize, and I’m no different. I’m sorry for maybe not always listening. I’m sorry for sometimes having a smart-aleck response.
I’m sorry for toilet-papering our own home one Saturday night, so you’d think it was some of Darin’s knuckle-headed friends and you’d make him go out and clean it all up while I looked out the window and laughed at him.
I’m sorry for not always appreciating what a handsome, brilliant, charming gift from Heaven I always had in my big brother. He’s legendary.
We lived in a house that just didn’t permit thin skin. There was no greater pleasure growing up — or still today — than getting a good dig in on someone in the family. Did we have lines we just shouldn’t cross? Yes. Did those lines get crossed a lot and create some hurt feelings? Yes. But there was always plenty of love, and plenty of laughs.
I guess I could just re-hash a bunch of old stories here — but the ones I’m thinking of off the top of my head all seem to be particularly embarrassing to me. Hmm... Odd that those are the ones I want so badly to share right now. No, no, no. Let’s just move on to the big stuff.
No. I’ll stay firm. I won’t publicly go over these stories that would do nothing but cause me great humiliation. What good would that do anyway? Unless... Nope. No, let’s move on.
Mom, I want to wish you the greatest of Mother’s Days. You’ve taught us to read and to learn for ourselves, to fight for what’s important, and to always find a way to help someone who needed help. Those are great lessons I hope to pass along to my own kids.
And thank you for bringing me into this world so I could have the opportunity to know Darin. He is truly amazing.
I love you!
p.s. Darin wishes you an even better Mother’s Day than I do. You know how amazing he is.