To: My Mommy on Her Birthday

Today is your birthday, but I am over 100 miles away. 

If I could, I would wake you up with herbal tea and a walk in the sparkling dawn because we both love mornings. I would clean your house, rub your back, and then let you nap while I made dinner. 

But I can’t, so here—these are a few of the thankful thoughts I’ve had all day about you.

Thank you for being a mommy who snuggled and kissed and hugged freely.
Thank you for putting up with math-induced pouting and door-slamming.
Thank you for singing about birdies and cherry trees and barrel-and-a-heap while the ball bearings squeaked beneath us.
I am so thankful that you taught us for an entire year about China.
And that you made dollies and their tiny fashions with us.

Thank you for reading aloud.You dedicated hundreds of hours to this, enthralling our hearts forever with the beauty of words and stories.

For making us apologize to each other. 

For apologizing to us.

For nature hikes, sketchbooks in hand.

For encouraging dress-up and pretend (even if it meant the whole living room disappeared under boxes and sheets).

For Hershey-bar pie and Swedish tea rings at Christmas.
For all the times you packed and unpacked for camping trips.
For trimming our bangs in your bathroom, swishing the hair bits away with that funny brush.
For thrift shopping,
                bra shopping,
                                and shopping to fill shoeboxes meant for kids in Belize or Bhutan or Belarus,  making Christmas expand beyond my own wish list.
For letting our little fingers into your sewing, your paints, your charcoal pencils and teaching us that art isn’t about the product, but the process.

For loving Daddy and for kissing him in front of us.
For long talks in the bathroom, in the car, and during walks through our suburban streets with our tennis shoes crunching in tandem–talks anywhere about everything.
For treating me like an adult, but letting me be a little girl whenever I need it.
And finally, thank you for not hiding your flaws. This most of all. Because of it, I have hope that perfectionism is not permanent. I know that there is strength in humility, and beauty in admitting need. 

Blessed are the poor in spirit, because their daughters see God through their brokenness.

Happy birthday, Mommy. I love you.

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