Dear Mom,

Tonight I'm sitting here on the eve of Mother's Day thinking about you, and how much you mean to me.  It's been a rougher week of motherhood, with this new baby inside of me slowing me down, and making me feel so very tired.  It's been good for me though, to slow down, and to focus on what really are the most important things in my life, which always boils down to my family.

Usually when I have days (or weeks) where I feel overwhelmed, I have an uneasy feeling like this all isn't really my responsibility.  I'm just living in a dream world, and at any moment, the real Mom (you) will step in and rescue me.  I wonder at what point I will feel I am as capable as the real Mom-- or if that moment will ever come at all.

Tonight I'm feeling especially grateful for all the lessons you've taught me in life through the way you've lived and loved those around you.

You have taught me the importance of getting involved.  From the youngest age you encouraged us in our interests, and made sure that we understood the importance of developing those interests, not only to better ourselves, but to meet other people with similar interests, and gain friendships.  This has helped me so much in life, and has brought me a lot of happiness.

You have taught me the value of hard work.  I will never forget the time last year when you called me feeling a little down, and asked me if you were lazy.  I think I burst out laughing, and answered with an assured "No!" because you are about the last person in the world I would call lazy.  I never call you without a grandchild you are taking care of, or a person you are helping out, or an event you are helping put together.  You cooked all my meals, cleaned our house and raised seven kids.  You are one of the hardest workers I know, and now that I have my own work to do and some perspective I am so grateful for this example, and a bit awed by it.  It makes me tired just thinking about it.  :-)

You taught me the value of play.  There were so many games you played with us-- so many trips to parks, and pools, and fun places.  So many parties, and friends filling the house and yard.  You got down on the floor and played with us, and still do with your grandkids, and I'm especially grateful for learning this, because it's brought me joy, both as a child, and now as an adult with my own kids.

You taught me the value of learning.  By getting your degree in early childhood education when you were nine months pregnant with your first baby, you paved the road for me and each of my brothers to gain an education, and to marry people who valued it as well.  Even though you never "technically" used your degree, you spent hours with all of us working on homework and projects and reading to us.  You always had your nose in a book or were listening to audio books (and still are), and taught me the joy that comes from reading and learning.

You taught me the value of service, and the happiness that comes from helping others.  I can't think of you without thinking of the hours and hours of service you have given to the people around you.  Your family, your friends, your neighbors, and sometimes even strangers.  You are the most giving person I know, and my life is so much better because of what you have sacrificed for me.

There has been no greater and more constant teacher in my life than you.  From the moment I was born you have held me, nursed me, talked to me, read to me, played with me, and loved me.

I love you so much Mom.  You are such a beautiful person inside and out.  I can never thank you enough for being you, and for being my Mom.