Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

How can one express in a simple letter the influence their mother had on their life?

Before I was seven, you taught me how to ride a bicycle, but I learned more than that. I still remember and occasionally retell the experience. You had decided it was time for the training wheels to come off. I was nervous, but you were there, holding the back seat to keep me steady. We took off together from the driveway, slow at first, but picking up speed. As we neared the end of the cul-de-sac I called over my shoulder, “Mom, I think we need to slow down.” You gave no immediate response and I glanced back. You had stopped holding on several houses ago. Where I thought I still needed support, you showed me that I I already had the ability in myself. You taught me confidence.

When we lived on Market Street, I remember lying on the couch one evening, listening to a tape. You heard me sniffling and asked if I was sick. “No,” I explained, “I was sad because of the song.” You smiled and said I had a soft heart, and assured me that was a good thing and never to lose it. To this day I still find myself moved by music, movies and the stories I read. I feel no shame in the tears they can bring to my eyes. You taught me that compassion and empathy are to be valued.

Over the years you taught me so much. You taught me practical skills. You taught me to sew. You taught me to work with wood, clay & pottery. You taught me that creativity was valuable for its own sake. You also taught me life skills, like honesty, integrity and kindness. There have been so many lessons, some easier to learn than others. Some that I’ve known intellectually but had difficulty putting into practice.

As I grew older and moved away, I found it too easy to get caught up in the daily distractions of life. I called less frequently than I should have, but still returned to visit a few times a year. That Monday evening, around 6:30 as I hung art in my office at home I thought of calling you. I had been meaning to call for several days to let you know I had time off approved and would be coming up for Christmas. I thought about it, and got distracted again. Four hours later, you passed away and I learned of it the next morning. That last lesson is probably the hardest: Remember to focus on what is important today, and never assume that you will have tomorrow. There are no guarantees.

So now I say goodbye, a few days too late, thankful for the mother who raised me, and saddened by your passing.

With Love, Always,
Your son.