In yesterday's Saturday Morning Daydreams post, I mentioned that I'd written my mom a letter for Mother's Day last year, to thank her for all she's given me (and tolerated from me). Here it is. Happy Mother's Day!
You are the best mom in all the land. You have pretty hair and great eyebrows. And a very nice singing voice. You are really good at drawing. And you always smell clean. You also have a stunning sense of style. And so, in honor of Mother's Day, I have compiled a list of various things for which I'd like to say merci.
for allowing me to express my personal style as a 4-year old (mainly via spinny dresses and costume jewelry), and taking me to my favorite tea room-style luncheons (in said outfits), and letting me order those weird pink cream cheese sandwiches (with the crusts cut off). Those were some of the best days of my life.
for reading to me every single night between the ages of 1 day and 10 years. Edie Changes Her Mind and A Baby Sister for Francis rock. Forever.
for teaching me about different cultures, to respect the earth and appreciate nature, to be open-minded and nonjudgmental, and to think outside the box, which I'm certain wasn't easy in homogeneous, conservative suburbia. And on the 'respecting nature' note, thank you for making me organic baby food from scratch and saying no to sugar-filled cereal and processed cold cuts, regardless of my threats that the kids at the school lunch table promised to give me their cheetoes and twinkies out of sympathy.
for helping me win third place in my middle school science far by teaching me how natural mordants react with herbal dyes, and for devoting so much of your free time to making certain we had an amazing herb garden in our yard, with fresh herbs available at all times. (And, of course, for even naming me after your favorite herb. How many other Melissa's were actually named after Melissa Officinalis, aka the deliciously fragrant, lemon-scented perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae?)
for making me those special dinners of scrambled eggs, baked beans, and apple sauce when dad worked late. I will always associate those meals with feeling safe and happy. And although I did not inherit your green thumb (see herb garden thank you in #4), I did inherit your indifference toward cooking. Please pass the take-out menu, thankyouverymuch.
for teaching me to be polite.
for not murdering me and/or putting me in some sort of juvenile detention facility between the ages of 13-1/2 and 16-3/4. I will leave this one at that.
for being part of the 'Triple BFF Brigade' that is you, sissy and me. Cocktails and Sex in the City? Yes, please.
for coming to all of the plays, ballet recitals, violin and choir concerts, football games during the cheerleading years, art exhibits, fashion shows, and awards ceremonies. And I mean all of them.
for listening to my desperate, tear-filled ramblings via telephone (often several hours long) during my "I'm still finding myself" years.
for letting me get - and wear - those pleated Guess overalls, tightly pinch-rolled and accessorized with splatter-paint jelly earrings and a belt fashioned from a powdery pink bandanna. And for giving me an Olgilvie Home Perm. I can only imagine the tears you held back as your young fashion-victim-of-a-daughter paraded around the neighborhood in all of her late '80s glory.
for surrounding me with art (from birth), teaching me how to draw and sew, and for not only allowing, but encouraging, me to follow my creative dreams. This is a big one.
for telling me that the dance routine I choreographed to Kenny Loggins' Footloose and subsequently performed for you, repeatedly, was "brilliant."
for being tough with me. I know that at age 15 I told you, daily, that you were "ruining my life," but trust me, I get it now. You always gave me just enough of what I wanted to make me happy, but made certain I appreciated the things I was given. You taught me how to figure things out for myself, be an independent woman, and never to expect (or want) hand-outs.
for setting an example, by being compassionate, incredibly thoughtful, hilarious, smart, talented, and strong, and for always encouraging me. From my first day in this world, you have encouraged me to think freely, encouraged me to take notice of the details in my surroundings, encouraged me to learn and experiment, encouraged me to explore, and encouraged me to never settle for ordinary. Even when we annoy the living crap out of each other, it's impossible not to look into your eyes and see what a truly good person you are.
(And don't you dare use this against me the next time we get into an irrational argument over where we're going shopping).