Dearest old (and I use that word STRICTLY in the endearing sense...you are not actually old) Mom,
I had a realization today...a revelation of sorts. I realized that I have been modeled and molded directly by you. Yeah, yeah, people are a product of their total environments, and the influences that shape a person are a collective effort of many sources. This is true to some extent, but for me, I see you when I look in the mirror. I kind of see Dad, like my ears and my tallness, and my eyes I think, but the total package...mostly you. I do these funny things that you would do, such as separate all the trash and recycle and get excited about composting. I make my bed most of the time, and about once a month or so I make a "mini resolution" to make my bed all of the time, which lasts about a week, then I don't make it and the train derails. I'm not a parent, but I imagine that if I was, I would do things like make chore lists for them, make them wear hand-me-downs, tell them fantastic bedtime stories, read to them incessantly, and brow-beat them into learning the piano, for which they would thank me profusely later in life. By the way, profuse thanks for your outrageous amount of stubbornness and dedication to ensuring that I learned how to play the piano, whether I liked it or not. Most of all Mom, thanks for teaching me how to be a good person. Thanks for teaching me that it's ok to get mad, say some stuff, then cry and apologize. Thanks for teaching me that womanly strength goes beyond being handy in the kitchen and knowing how to handle a vacuum cleaner...it is bearing, loving, raising, and being a true friend to nine kids, giving up so much of your own early adulthood to bring us into the world. Thanks for teaching me how to wash dishes by hand (I never use the dishwasher), how to make jam and can stuff, how to make lists, how to eat for really cheap. Thanks for loving me in spite of my teenage antics, and being willing to laugh about them later.
I'm lucky to have a Mom like you.