An Open Letter to My Mom

Dear Mom,

It has been way too long since I have taken time to sit down to write you a letter. I’m actually not sure I have ever written you a letter. And I am one hundred percent sure you have never been the subject of my blog. Sure, we chat when we are together and we have pleasant phone calls discussing this and that, but often that is surface stuff. Nothing wrong with surface stuff, I’m engaged, you’re engaged, we laugh, I cry (I am working on toughening up a bit), it’s all good. We are great at surface stuff like what’s going on with the kids, what trips we have planned and what crazy stuff is happening in the world (You might recall, you have to remind me what’s going on in the world since I closed my life to newspapers, radio and television years ago. Thank you for the updates). People that I tell the story of my “disconnection” from current events and the news always remark, that I must have a tough time staying up to date on current events. Several have expressed a concern about what will happen to me if things get really bad in the world. I explain to them that, being a concerned mother, if things get really bad out there, you will get in touch.

Outside of the periphery stuff, it's time for me to cover a few facts that, although I know you know, it’s important for me to share with you. Most importantly, know that I love you. Extreme pain can do that do someone (they tell me labor is not an easy process), I am hoping these fifty years later you can forgive me for putting you through such a tough experience. I was much younger then and given an opportunity to apologize earlier, I should have done just that. Let the record show I appreciate the pain(s) you have endured for me. As giver of my life, I recognize it was a pretty important step in the growing process for me; without it, there would really be no place to start. You might say though, the experience created a connection. A bond of sorts, like the bond between mother and son. Oh wait, well you get it.

Being the baby in the family, you always treated me to an extra layer of protection. Again, I thank you for watching out for me at every stage of my life. I am still working on recovering from the automatic mother seat belt dents you made in my chest. Before the “click it or ticket” laws went into effect, your arm was far more predictable and safer than airbags. Growing up, you were always there with an encouraging word when things weren’t going quite right at the office, when I didn’t close the big deal or when I just needed some personal advice and guidance in my life. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe the motorcycle, tattoo and skydiving weren’t the most mature ideas, but I still think the ink looks good on you mommy and your ribs have almost healed one hundred percent since you launched yourself into a free fall from 10,000 feet. Just kidding, but seriously, I will think twice before making decisions like those, and then still move forward with my crazy ideas. Thanks for not going completely insane the day I arrived at home, helmet in hand, announcing at 18 years old that I purchased a Yamaha motorcycle. No matter how safe you tried to keep me, I managed to wiggle free of your grip and try to hurt myself through some level of stupidity. As you can see, not much has changed as an adult either, the Harley looks great in the garage, doesn’t it?

You taught me to be me, how to show compassion for my fellow man, how to build relationships, how to laugh at myself, how to never settle for less than my best, how to have a healthy self esteem and how to believe in myself.

Mom, you taught me ambition, strength and perseverance. I am forever grateful to have watched you by example stay true to your course, not give up on your dreams, and go out there and make life happen. Through your many jobs along the way including underwear model (looks great on the resume), real estate agent and Amway distributor (thanks for your support in the MLM phase of my life) you showed me how to work hard, stay focused and build relationships. I promise to pay you back one day for the money I made you invest in my new business ventures. I must say, I very much admire your capacity to make friends with anyone and everyone you come in contact with; your personality is infectious and I think of all the things I have watched, your ability to light up a room with your presence is the most fun to witness.

You taught me to be me, how to show compassion for my fellow man, how to build relationships, how to laugh at myself, how to never settle for less than my best, how to have a healthy self esteem and how to believe in myself. Many pep rallies would take place as you sat at the foot of my bed saying, “Look at yourself in the mirror Doug, what do you see? I see an amazing person worthy of everything life has to offer. You deserve the best because you are the best.” Even when I didn’t believe in myself, you believed in me. It’s because of you that I have learned to be sensitive, empathetic and kind. I guess I have you to thank when I cry as the credits are rolling during a movie or in the middle of a Toyota commercial.

But most of all mom, you have taught me to love, and for that, I love you the most. You have loved me unconditionally through every phase in my life. When I am high on life, you are there to celebrate with me and when life has me by the short hairs and knocks me down, you have been there to set me upright, pat me on my tush, look me in the eye and say, “You can do it.” Your love for me has created a ripple effect that will be felt for generations to come. I can see it in my kids and it makes me smile.

I consider myself fortunate, not only because I have you as my mother, but because I have you as a friend and as someone in my life. Your guidance and inspiration are motivating forces in my life. I love you for all that you do and have ever done for me. And I know the next time I roll up to the house on my motorcycle, you’ll smile, tell me you love me and say proudly, “That’s my son, isn’t he cute?”