Dear Mom,

It feels weird to be in my forties and still say I need you. But I do.

Your selflessness has been present throughout my life, your generosity abundant. It wasn’t just perfect Christmases and fun family dinners and shopping trips so we could spend time together. It was when you went back to work so I didn’t have to take out college loans; it was supporting my choices, even when you disagreed; it was always believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.

When I was on bedrest with the twins and my husband had to travel for work, you dropped everything to take care of me.

You made my favorite spaghetti sauce and did all the grocery shopping and went to every doctor’s appointment. You held my hand when I was scared that I might deliver my babies early and stayed positive when specialists tried to prepare us for the worst.

When I gave birth to two tiny but healthy babies, you never left my side. You were so excited to meet your grandchildren, but while everyone rushed to take care of my preemies, you were there for me. As you always are. 

And then you became a grandmother, and even though you spoil your granddaughters rotten, you still make me feel so important, so cared for, so very loved.

It’s the way when you visit, the laundry mysteriously gets finished and there’s never a dish to wash in the sink. It’s how you still send me a dollar in my birthday card for good luck and encourage my husband and me to go out to dinner so we can grab an hour to ourselves. It’s calling to check in on our family when the kids get sick—but always asking if I am OK, too. It’s asking if I’m working too much, and then telling me how proud you are of my achievements.

When sickness hit me hard, when a freak illness took away my vision and caused me to become bedridden for several months, it was you who stepped into my place. It was you, Mom, who left the comforts of your house to take charge of mine. You took care of my children and my husband and my home—and still made me feel that I was your primary concern. 

When I feel like a failure as a mom, when the guilt hits me in the gut and I wallow in self-pity, you remind me that although my life is hard, most have it harder. You say, “You are such a good mom, sweet girl. Your kids are so lucky to have you.”

And these simple words erase my doubt. They are exactly what recalibrates my mindset and helps me to go on, helps me to be a better person, a better wife, a better mom.

Having someone in this world who makes me feel prioritized, who always thinks about my well-being, who worries if I am being cared for and that I am caring for myself—well, that’s just everything.

I know how lucky I am to have you in my life. I know that not every daughter has a mother like you, that some have mothers who have left this Earth too soon.

So, I just wanted to say thank you, Mom. I just wanted to make sure you knew how grateful I am to have you in my life.

Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for every small act of kindness and every great sacrifice. Thank you for continuing to mother me in this season of exhausting motherhood . . .  

So I can be the kind of mother that you were for me.

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is the mom to three tween daughters, a communications consultant and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays http://playdatesonfridays.com/