Dear Mom

Dear Mom, I want you to know so many things, but I don't want them to come out as trite, or to sound like a Hallmark card. I don't want the feelings I have to be diminished because I can't put them into the right words, but I want to say it all nonetheless. I want to thank you for being my best friend, now that I'm older, but for being my mom when I was younger and needed just a mom. I want to thank you for making me all of those Halloween costumes. Even though you worked full time and were a single mom you always helped to make the costumes, put together class projects, deliver Girl Scout cookies. At the time I didn't appreciate the Charlie Chaplin costume as much as I should have, but looking back on it it means so much to me. I'm sure dying that mop red in our basement to make a Raggedy Ann wig for me wasn't the easiest thing to do but it came out perfect.

I want to thank you for "accidentally" sabotaging the laundry that one time when I was in high school and bleaching a pair of my jeans, spurring me into action to take over all of my own laundry so it wouldn't happen again. Thank you for driving me to/and or coaching my softball team, basketball, horseback riding, swimming, diving, ballet, tennis, soccer, track and everything else I did while growing up, and times that by three for simultaneously doing it for Chris and Ted as well. Thank you for dealing with me for that year when I only wanted to eat shells and cheese, the way YOU made it, the same way, every night. Thank you for all the lunches you made, all the bites from your sandwiches you gave, all the birthday cakes you baked.

Thank you for teaching me that everyone should be treated exactly the same as I expect to be treated, thank you for teaching me that people come in all shapes and sizes and colors and telling me that I looked beautiful after I had the chicken pox and felt anything but. Thanks for telling me I am stronger than I think I am, that I can do whatever I want as long as I work hard, that I have your love no matter what happens.

Thank you for knowing how to do pretty much anything, from putting up drywall and fixing doorknobs, getting stains out of favorite dresses and pulling ticks off without freaking out. Thank you for trying to teach me some of this stuff and being patient with me. Thank you for saving all of my artwork from growing up even though I almost alerted A&E to put you on Hoarders when I realized just how many drawings of mine you still had. I'm so lucky to be able to look back on that old stuff and remember things I thought I had long forgotten. Thank you for passing down your fantastic style, and incredible taste, and for telling me to throw away that crocheted tie dyed sweater vest thing in eighth grade.

Thank you for all the laughs we have had, and still have. The infamous O Henry yard sale incident, the "snake pit" in Minnesota, the "oda" sign on our way to brunch in my old Volvo. Speaking of which, thank you for that old Volvo. It didn't have a radio but I loved having that old transistor one on the big seat next to me, it was my first car and I will always cherish the time I tooled around college in that silver '82 sporty thing. Thank you for making up countless nicknames for our dachshund with me, watching Gone with the Wind a zillion times with me, thank you for letting me listen to my Annie record over and over and over and over and over again when I was little. Thank you for letting me push you away when I was a teenager, and for coming back to me when I was ready and over that really special and fun stage.

Thank you for helping me to be the mom I am now, for talking me down when I need to be talked down, for building me up when I need to be built up, for giving me the emotional tools to do that for myself when I need to. Thank you for teaching me that mistakes will be made when raising kids, but what they will remember is the love, the time you spend with them, the smiles and the hugs. Now that I'm an adult I love spending time with you, going on little adventures with you, having dinner together and shopping together and creating fun projects together. I realize how lucky I am to have such a great mom, and I want you to realize it too.

Thank you for being part of my life, and being the Nina to my three kids. I am who I am because of you, I love you more than I can ever tell you. Thank you for being my mom, and thank you for being you. xoxo, me