Good Morning, Momshine

Madre,

Where to begin? How to do write a thank you letter to someone who is literally the reason you’re alive?

We’ve been through a lot, you and I.  I think it was five solid years, starting when I was thirteen, that we spent the majority of our time fighting. I remember a lot of screaming. The blame doesn’t lie entirely with either of us.

Though, even all the fighting isn’t all bad, now that we’re through it. Yes, it was rough. Yes, for a while, it skewed my memories of us. Our relationship. But in the end, I think we both learned from it. We both grew, we both survived. And maybe now our bond is stronger for having to get past the differences (or similarities) that kept us at each other’s throat for so many years.

Most of my favorite memories with you take place in the car. I would tag along for errands, whether by choice or by necessity. And we would laugh. I would get hyper, cooped up in the vehicle, and start to get a little kooky.  I would sing songs at the top of my lungs, inevitably getting the words wrong, I would do dramatic interpretative dances (my personal favorite might be when I would make it look/sound like I was actually plummeting to my death during Free Falling) or changing the lyrics to the song playing to get your attention (i.e. changing “All Right Now” to “I Said Ow” when an exclamation of pain went unheard). And we would laugh. We would laugh until we couldn’t breathe, tears streaming down our cheeks that were sore from all the fun. Making you laugh was always one of my favorite things to do…still is, really.

I see a lot of you in me – not just physically, like everyone else does. I’ve definitely inherited your stubbornness and determination. From years of watching you selflessly make presents for every teacher I ever had, from seeing you help out your friends without batting an eye, even down to the little gestures like having munchkins in the car when it was your turn to drive the carpool home from school, I learned caring and compassion. As embarrassed as I’d act when I was the only kid bringing my teacher a gift basket for Teacher Appreciation Day,  it was mostly because of the “teacher’s pet” comments my classmates would sling my way. Seeing the pure joy on the gift receiver’s face was always worth it. So I guess it’s from you I got my love of making people smile.

I’m sure there are plenty of other things that we have in common that even I can’t see. I’m sure that people who have known you since you were my age would be able to tell me similarities that I can’t detect. Maybe you even see them.

Thank you, for giving me the best parts of you. Thank you for raising me with morals, teaching me how to be kind. Thank you for marrying Daddy, who complements you in so many ways. Thank you for not letting me sell my little brother, no matter how many times I begged, and for reminding me that what I saw as him being annoying was really just him wanting to spend time with me.

Thank you for always pushing me to be better. You knew when I wasn’t giving something my all, even when I didn’t, and you wouldn’t stand for it. You saw my potential and you did everything you could to make sure I met it.

Thank you for being my friend, now that I’m older. Thank you for still letting me come to you with things that confuse me – like recipes and eye doctors. Thank you for doing my taxes for me, you know I’d screw that one up if I had to do it myself. Thank you for asking about my personal life but not prying if I don’t have much to say about it. Thank you for not disowning me because I’m gay. Thank you for not disowning me because I break pretty much every piece of technology I own within a year of having it. Thank you for buying me nice things for my birthday and Christmas even though you know I’ll probably lose or break it. Thank you for sending me care packages for almost every holiday, even though I’m not in college anymore. Thank you for being unabashedly obsessed with Barry Manilow, I think it’s your ability to proclaim your love for him, haters be damned, that allows me to be such a proud Gleek. Thank you for taking me to New York see A Chorus Line when I was in utero and then to New York about ten years later (I think I appreciated it more the second time). Thank you for taking me to LA for my sixteenth birthday. Thank you for telling me when you think I’m prettier than someone on TV, even when I don’t believe it.  Thank you for coming to every play, musical, dance recital, spelling bee, or any other event of mine, without fail.

I know I wasn’t the easiest teenager to deal with, and I know even now I still frustrate you to no end. But thank you for loving me anyway.

I love you.

Love always,

Starshine

“And I love you for giving me your eyes, for staying back and watching me shine. And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m taking this chance to say that I had the best day with you today.”

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~ by Valerie Anne on 05/13/2012.

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