None of us get through life unscathed. We all have things that caused pain or fear or rejection or shame. Sometimes I look back and I marvel at where I am. I feel incredibly lucky that the hurtful and the shameful and the painful didn’t define me. They are there, but they didn’t win. They were overshadowed and overcome and drowned out by one voice.
It was the voice of encouragement and love and wisdom.
It was always there, always available, always ready.
Thank you, Mom.
Thank you for being the voice that made all the difference.
Thank you for being the constant listener. For never tiring of the endless chatter of a little girl full of questions and observations and random thoughts.
Thank you for not laughing or minimizing my fears or my dreams.
Thank you for bringing a little laughter and silliness to late night car rides to the grocery store on pay day. Our tummies rumbling in hunger momentarily forgotten by your outlandish stories and made up songs.
Thank you for fighting to survive when a lot of women would have given up. Divorced with two little girls, no job, no car. Thank you for reinventing yourself from the timid small town girl too scared to drive, to the independent working woman respected by her peers.
Thank you for giving us a Christmas even when you couldn’t afford to buy gifts. For making a game of giving each other imaginary gifts, pictures cut out of magazines of the things we would give each other if…
Thank you for quietly not eating so you’d have enough food for us.
Thank you for putting up with my endless performances and jokes and precocious antics without ever showing annoyance.
Thank you for encouraging my dreams. For making me believe I could be an actress on Broadway one day. For never shooting down a little girl’s pipe dreams.
Thank you for always talking to me like I was a person. For always valuing my opinions and thoughts. Even when they may have been immature or misguided.
Thank you for making me feel like I had a voice. And that it mattered.
Thank you for giving me a beautiful sister and precious brother who became my best friends.
Thank you for walking with me through a painful back surgery and months of wearing an embarrassing brace and body cast. For being sensitive to my struggle but not letting me wallow in self pity.
Thank you for talking me through my first heartbreak. For not hesitating to come get me when I called you sobbing from the school pay phone. For taking me to lunch and letting me talk about it. For telling me that I deserved better. That I would take that heartbreak and I would be stronger. And that I would NEVER let anyone hurt me like that again.
Thank you for letting me sit in on the adult discussions about life and politics. For letting me chime in on occasion and insisting that others listen to what I had to say.
Thank you for making me feel special when I felt stupid or ugly or unlikeable.
Thank you for exposing me to art, to theatre, to Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire and Joel Gray and Debbie Reynolds. And to jazz. And for taking me to see Fame and Ghandi even though they were rated “R.” For watching A Chorus Line with me over and over because Broadway.
Thank you for marrying a great man who loved us and took care of us. And whose deep appreciation and knowledge of all things rock and roll gave me an education and a passion for a music that influences almost everything I say and do.
Thank you for teaching me about working hard and toughing it out and treating every job as if it were the most important job in the world.
Thank you for listening when I called you from my apartment in Atlanta. Not sure if I should walk out on a long term relationship that I’d thought was my future. For telling me that I would never settle. That I would find that amazing love that is written about in great novels.
Thank you for not laughing or questioning me when I called you after the first date to tell you that I’d met the man I was going to marry.
Thank you for taking care of my brother. For being his nurse and his mom and his friend. And for taking hit after hit during a brutal 18 months and standing with him as he stared Cancer in the face and said “I don’t have time for you. I’ve still got a lot of living to do.” For being steady when your legs were shaking in fear.
For not giving up on life when Cancer won. Even though you wanted to.
Thank you for showing up at my wedding ten days after the worst heartbreak any mother could face. For showing up and smiling and laughing and dancing. For allowing all of us to have a few moments from the grief… to do what he would have wanted us to do.
Thank you for still talking about him. For letting me talk about him. For making sure he is still a part of everything we do. For listening to me when I’m struggling and in pain and missing him so much I don’t think I can breathe. Even though you’re struggling more. For putting your pain on hold to be there for me.
Thank you for still walking through life 15 years later. When I know sometimes each step is just as painful as it was in those darkest days.
Thank you for always being a fighter. For showing me what strength is. For being an example of persevering and not giving up and for being real while doing it.
Thank you for helping me breathe in moments where I felt like I couldn’t.
Thank you for showing me how to be a mother and a friend. And how the two can come together to be a beautiful thing.
Thank you for being a mom and a grandmother who will stop whatever she’s doing to be there for any one of us.
Thank you for being that strong voice for you grandsons and granddaughters too.
Thank you for having a louder voice than any of the bad. For speaking to me over the negative. For giving me the confidence and the optimism that the negative tries so hard to steal.
Because of your voice I was able to grow. To love. To dream. To learn.
Thank you, Mom.