Dear Mom,

I know my gift hasn’t even been mailed yet, and I have all kinds of excuses to justify it, but in reality – it’s just one more way I’ve slipped in showing you the appreciation I feel for you.

It’s so easy to take you for granted, Mom. I mean – you’ve always just been around. You’ve never not been there. In almost every single significant, and insignificant, moment of my life, your face is there somewhere.

In my mind, I can see many different pictures of you.

Your back as you stand at the sink in the cream-colored house washing dishes.

You curled up on the couch to read your copy of “Reader’s Digest” during one of the few quiet moments I allowed you.

You holding my hand when I had that mole on my back removed, and laughing at how high my butt was in the air.

The day I called you from school to tell you that I had started my first cycle, and how you took me out that night to tell me I had become a woman, and made me feel so very special and grown-up.

Your face in the audience at every single event when I was on stage.

The night I wet myself in my 2nd grade program, in front of everyone, and how you didn’t get mad or make fun of me.

The time you spent with me – especially in the 3rd grade – at school, volunteering and being involved.

How hard we laughed whenever our family silliness got the best of us.

Building a Lego skyscraper.

The time you surprised me by cleaning my room for me, and leaving a card on my pillow that told me how much you love me, and how proud you were of me. (I still have that card, Mom.)

When I finally woke up out of my stupor when I was dating E, and you were just there. Never an “I told you so.” Not once.

The picture I have of you at my wedding reception – you are laughing at something. I treasure that.

When you got in my face while I was in labor with Durin, and gave me the biggest pep talk I’ve ever heard. YOU were my second wind, and I couldn’t have made it without you.

The fact that you dropped everything to be with me at the births of each of my children…there just aren’t words for the gratitude I feel for you, Mom. Anything I say would not be enough.

The light in your eyes when you look at your grandchildren…even if you have to correct one of them. *cough*Turbo*cough* 🙂

How you laugh at me when I call to tell you about the troubles with my kids…you have no idea how much that helps me keep things in perspective. There really isn’t much that truly matters, is there? You are always able to help me see the funny side of everything. And there always is a funny side.

The thing I remember most, though, is that you love Dad. Unconditionally.

YOU showed me, by example, what it really means to be a wife and a mother. I can only wish I could be half the woman you are, Mom. And I mean that more than you’ll ever know. The standard you’ve set is so high…and when I compare myself with you, I feel small. But not in a bad way. I’m inspired.

“If Mom can do it, then I sure as heck can!” (At least sometimes!)

But it’s hard, Mom. You always tried to tell me how hard it is, but I never got it until I had kids myself. And now, I get it so well, that I am appalled at my utter lack of real appreciation for you before now. I always thought I appreciated you, but now I know that I really do.

I want to honor you, Mom. And the best way I know how to do that is to live my life as closely to the standard you set for me as I can. I fall short so much (and you know how much that is), but I want you to know that if it weren’t for you, your presence in my life, I would be nothing.

I am so glad that God chose to give me to you as a baby.

I am absolutely certain there is not one woman out there who could be a better mother to me than you have been. And are.

I love you.

I miss you.

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