A Thank You Letter To My Mother

A Thank You Letter To My Mother

Thank you to my best friend, biggest supporter, and mother. You are the brightest light in my life and for that, I thank you.
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Dear Mom,

It has been said many times before that “My mom is the best mom in the whole world,” but this statement could not be truer when it comes to you. Not only are you an amazing parent, but you are the spunkiest, most loving, and kindest person I know. You are my best friend and have inspired me to no end. You came from nothing and made yourself into something spectacular. Your drive and passion for life inspires me every day. Whether it is working on your career or caring for your beloved family, you are amazing.

Thank you for being you. You are beautiful inside and out, yet, it is your smile that radiates the sprouting waves of joy and happiness around every room that you enter. Your laugh is contagious. I have never met another person that loves life as much as you do. I don’t know how you deal with half of the stuff that comes up in life as you tackle it with such poise and dignity.

Thank you for spending time with me. Do you remember when I used to tell my friends I was too busy to hang out with them so that I could go to an endless amount of movies with you? I do because those were memories that I will forever cherish. Our laughs, our tears, our joys, and our sorrows are the reason that our relationship is so strong.

Thank you for always taking my photo. Whether it be for sports or family events, you are always there with the camera ready to take another snapshot. It was typical for me to usually complain an outrageous amount of the time, but I am delighted to be able to have those memories with you documented so well.

Thank you for being my role model. As I grow older, I begin to see more of you in me, and I get even more thankful for that each day. Whether it be the slight giggle you let out when you hear something funny or the way you smile and tilt your head when you hear something you like. If I could just be only half the mother than you are one day, I would be more than content with that. I love hearing about the stories of your childhood. I often compare them to my own just so that I can try to find more similarities between us.

Thank you for loving me regardless of my mistakes. Thank you for always being there as I continue to navigate these early years of my life. Thank you for being you because you are the greatest person I have ever met. Finally, thank you for letting me go and experience life for what it truly is. I can only hope that I am half the person that you are one day.

Love,

Your Daughter

Cover Image Credit: Sara Woodring

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15 Things You Realize As Your Baby Brother Grows Up

No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother.
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Despite the fistfights and days of locking each other out of the house, a little brother is one of the biggest blessings you can receive. Most sisters can agree that they probably bossed their brothers around a lot when they were younger (and probably still do). Most sisters have also most likely forced their brothers to participate in many games that were only enjoyable for one party (baby dolls, house, dress up, etc.)

As a little brother grows up, you start to realize a lot of things as they become your lifelong best friend. Here are 15 of them:

1. He will outgrow you

Even though you were once able to beat him in a wrestling match, and have a fair game of tag, as you get older, he begins to pass you up in size and you realize it probably isn't in your best interest to pick a fight.

2. Teenage boy sass is a real thing

So many times, girls get a bad rep for the teenage phase, but let me tell you, teenage boys have just as much sass if not more than the average hormonal girl. But you also realize that you will get through it, and he is still your sweet brother somewhere deep, deep down.

3. He will go through a phase when he is too cool for you

Your whole life you have been used to your little brother looking up to you and wanting to be just like you and do all the things you do. This probably really annoyed you at some point too and I know I found the words "stop copying me" coming out of my mouth a lot. Don't wish it away, enjoy these times because there hits a point where he will want to do their own thing for a while.

4. He will begin to form his own opinions, and he is actually really smart

He still looks up to you, but there comes a time when he actually starts to contradict and challenge your opinions, and his arguments are surprisingly really good. You learn a lot from your little brother, so start listening to what they have to say sometimes.

5. No girl will ever be good enough for him

When he brings a girl home, you can't help but judge everything about her (no pressure) because to you, no girl will match up to his awesomeness. You know you are annoying, over-controlling, and overly judgmental, but you can't help it, he is your baby brother after all.

6. Regardless of how old or big he gets, if anyone messes with him, you will "beat them up"

I am not a fighter, but somehow anytime someone messes with my little brother, I get the ego of Muhammed Ali and believe that I can beat anyone up. Even now that he has outgrown me by about six inches and 50 pounds and is definitely a lot stronger than me, I still threaten to protect him because for some reason I feel like I can defend him better than he can himself. If anyone shoves him on the soccer field or says something mean to him at school, all of the sudden the big sister is the most intimidating and feisty little 5'4" girl there is out there.

7. He has your back

The once quiet and shy boy you outspoke as a child is not afraid to stand up for you. Even if he knows you're wrong, he is just as protective of you as you are of him and he will always be there for you whether you need a shoulder to cry on, you've had a fight with your friends and need someone to talk to, or a guy blows you off and you just need dairy queen and a movie night.

8. People will think he is your boyfriend and vice versa

As little kids, you were obviously the big sister, but now that he has outgrown you, hit puberty and matured, people mistake him as your boyfriend all the time. When you go to dinner and get the "you are such a cute couple" comment, you can't help but laugh.

9. All of his academic success is obviously all thanks to you

All the days you forced him to play "school" with you and tried to teach him everything you knew paid off because he actually knows what he is doing now. You're welcome.

10. Every year he turns another year older, you freak out because you remember how old you felt when you were his age, and it is not possible for him to be that old

No, no, no. He is little. He cannot drive just because he is 16. That is scary. [Only you were mature enough and ready to drive at 16.] There is no way that he is already 18 and can vote. You will never get used to the fact that he is growing up at the same pace as you are.

11. He is the one person who defies your theory that you are never wrong

He always has your best interests in mind, so if he disapproves of a guy, or questions a choice you are making, he is most likely right, just listen to him. Seriously, it will save you time in the future.

12. You will always worry about him

Yes, you are annoying and you know he can handle himself, but the thought of him ever getting hurt kills you. Every time he goes out or takes a risk, you worry about him. However, you also know and trust that he is smart and makes good choices, and if he ever doesn't, you will always be here to save the day, duh!

13. You are his biggest fan

And you are absolutely obnoxious at sporting games and other events. You are the first person to yell at the referee when he gets fouled and the loudest person screaming when he scores a goal. You also find yourself bragging about him to your friends because you are just so proud, and you taught him everything he knows (duh again).

14. He is your best friend

You can tell him anything and he can tell you anything. You guys have a pact and he won't tell your secrets. He's your person, and you have come to find out that he actually gives great advice when you give him the chance to talk.

15. No matter how old he gets, he will always be your baby brother

No matter how old my brother gets, we still say "I love you" every night and he will always be my little baby brother who I watch over and protect, always. I know I have a lifelong best friend who I can lean on during hard times, and celebrate with when the times are good. Bless up.

Special shoutout to my baby brother, Luke, for teaching me so much about myself and always being there for me.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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10 Things Children Of Divorced Parents Know All Too Well, From Experience

No matter when your parents divorced, we have all had these questions or thoughts pass our mind.

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Having divorced parents is nothing to be ashamed of. It's 2018. Having divorced parents these days has become a normal part of modern day family life.

My parents have been divorced since I was 3-4 years old (to be honest, I don't know exactly when). But I have never known a life when my mother and father happily lived in the same home. And I'm okay with that. My whole childhood was based on scheduling when my sisters and I were to be with Mom and when to be with Dad. Having divorced parents is the only life I know, and I don't care. Two homes did not destroy me, nor did it affect my ability to be the individual I want to be.

If you have a similar story to mine, or recently going through the struggle of your parents' divorce, you'll know what these few things are like in your everyday life.

1. The every-other weekend schedule

The first weekend of the month is with dad. Second with mom. Third with dad, and so forth. You get it. And it repeats all over again with the start of each month. You get in the habit of packing your Vera Bradley bag to bring to dad's every other weekend and tugging it along to elementary school for the day. Then having to explain why you can't hang out with a friend that weekend because you'll be at another parent's house.

2. That feeling when you forget something at the other parent's house

For me, it was an item within the school's required uniform that I had to have every day. Like my sweater vest (dark times) at my mom's when I needed it the next day but I was staying with my dad who lives quite a distance from mom. That became a sticky situation when I had to suck it up and go to school without it then continue to explain to everyone why I didn't have the sweater vest... *sigh* Or even worse — the phone charger!

3. Your parents are constantly bickering with each other

If your parents are anything like mine, they bicker A LOT. Constantly complaining about the other, putting you in an awkward position. And then you and your siblings become the middle-men between the two parents because they can't speak to one another civilly.

4. Then you may feel like you have to chose sides

When one parent is complaining about the other, and you have to sit there quietly and agree. Then when you're back with the opposite, you agree with whatever trash-talking they're saying now. Again, you're in an awkward position, being flippant in which side to be on just to please your parents.

5. "Ask your mom." and "Ask your dad."

Ah, that moment when you need to buy something for school (i.e. knee high socks) and they reply with this comment. Or worse when they both respond with it! Or that time I needed to sell some Girl Scout Cookies, who would help young little girl me go door to door begging strangers to buy cookies from children? Dividing up responsibilities became an interesting game.

6. On that note, dividing up EVERYTHING

Holidays and important events. Halloween with Dad, Thanksgiving with Mom, Christmas Eve with Mom, Christmas Day with Dad, New Years with Mom — wow, I'm getting whiplash! Consistency during this time is almost impossible. You're switching back and forth as a young child; you can hardly keep multiplication straight — how are you expected to keep your schedule straight?!

7. And birthday's for that matter

For my siblings and I, that is always a fun game of who, what, where, and how. So keep up with me here: I'm a twin and we have a younger sister. Two birthdays to sort out. Younger sister in May and us in June. OK, seems like we can sort something out... Think again! My twin and I share a birthday with our dad! Now what? So we have to decide if we are spending our birthday with the mother that gave us life or the person we share a birthday with. To be honest, still to this day I don't know how we get anything sorted out.

8. Big events and where to seat them

So, we've all had those silly school plays where we dress up as a tree and our parents come support us while we shine in the spotlight. However, do they sit together and who do you see afterward? For me, I still struggle with this question. From graduation to a performance with my sorority, where do I put them without them ripping each other's heads off? Baylor has this traditional homecoming show called Pigskin — tickets sell FAST. And it's not something you can be picky about. This year, I'm a dancing yellow flower (I swear, this is college). So I had to buy a set of tickets together — as again beggars can't be choosers. Three seats. Two divorced parents. One younger sister. How do we arrange that? Mom, Sister, Dad. Let's keep the bickering to a minimum and be here for the love of the daughter.

9. Friends with married parents just don't quite understand

Yeah, all parents fight. Every household is unique. But when your friends have happily married parents, they don't get what it's like growing up in a split household. It's a completely different style of childhood. There's some drama and a lot of confusion. Sometimes explaining how your life works hurts their head — hurts mine too at times. It's so much more complex to be on sides of parents and scheduling time to see your parent. It's not an easy lifestyle. But it wasn't our choice. It's just not the same life as your friend with coupled parents.

10. Everything happens for a reason

It wasn't the choice of the children for the parents to divorce, but that doesn't change that fact that it happened. We have to accept this lifestyle and embrace our unique situation. Maybe our lives would have been totally different if our parents stayed together. But guess what: who cares? Because of their divorce, we are presented with so many other opportunities in life. We can appreciate love and value the inner working of family. The divorce happened for a reason and there's nothing wrong with that. It's called life.

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