An Open Birthday Letter to my Mother


Happy Birthday! You’re 49 this year right? How strange it must be to have a son who looks older than you. Well instead of the typical Hallmark card that anyone can buy, I thought I’d write you something that anyone can read.

When I talk to people who grew up in particularly troubled homes, as I seem to do all of the time these days, I am grateful to be able to say otherwise. When people lament their broken or dysfunctional families, I am grateful that mine was otherwise. Although Mark was nearly always sick it seems, I don’t remember our family being in constant crisis about his health. We were so often happy like a family should be. I am thankful for the stability and security you provided for during what could have been traumatic times. Of all the gifts a mother can give her son, the gift of presence is perhaps the most lasting and influential. Thank you for always being there.

I know your own childhood wasn’t easy, and for that matter your adulthood hasn’t always been particularly easy either. But you’ve always believed in me, supported me in what I have done, encouraged me when times were difficult, and believed tirelessly that I could do anything. It’s become almost cliche to say that these are things mom’s should do, but you have done them consistently, and I am grateful.

Only now do I have some idea of how difficult it is to be a parent. From colic, to carpool, to cooking and cleaning, to college costs, to grandchildren, I am learning the challenges of being a parent through the years. So thank you for showing me the way, for your faithfulness to our family, and for your consistent dedication to being a great mom. I love you, and Happy Birthday.