Dear women over 50,

You are absolute rockstars! Seriously, how did you do it?

You raised us during decades when we slept face-down in cribs with drop rails slathered in lead paint, surrounded by stuffed animals and crib rails. You laughed in the face of parental warnings and we defied death. You didn’t install GPS apps on our phones. In fact, you told us to get our butts outside and not to come in until the street lights came on. You stared at our pimply faces during dinner every single night. You believed our teachers when they said we’d cut up in class without even asking us our side of the story, and we paid the price.

Without Instagram filters, Facebook event invites, Pinterest Disney character snacks, or nut-free classrooms, you charged ahead rearing tiny humans to become decision-making, paddle-fearing, non-instant-gratification-needing adults. You are incredible.

Mamas over 50, you are beautiful.

No, seriously. Those laugh lines and age spots you worry about were brought on by a lifetime of hilarious memories and summers spent poolside with no more than baby oil between you and the sun. We love you for that.

Some of our best memories, as your children, were spent splashing in those pools and lakes where you sat beside us taking video of our self-choreographed (not at all) synchronized swim routines while somehow balancing giant Danny Tanner camcorders on your shoulders without cracking up at our lack of coordination.

The gravitational pull on your body that once bore children at a time when women didn’t constantly worry if they were “doing it all right” is a badge of courage and honor to those of us whose northernmost body parts are edging ever closer to our southern hemispheres. We see you and we are in awe of you.

Thank you for being a force to be reckoned with—whether for us or against us—back when Child Protective Services wasn’t called if we had our tails handed to us for the grocery store meltdowns that now cause today’s moms to hide behind cereal racks and then suffer years of toddler-inflicted PTSD.

We don’t know how you did it, mamas, but we salute you. Keep killing it as grandmas because we couldn’t do it without you. Seriously.

Brynn Burger

Mental health advocate, extreme parent, lover of all things outdoors, and sometimes a shell of my former self. Parenting a child with multiple behavior disabilities has become both my prison and my passion. I write so I can breathe. I believe that God called me to share, with violent vulnerability and fluent sarcasm, our testimony to throw a lifeline to other mamas who feel desperate to know they aren't alone. I laugh with my mouth wide open, drink more cream than coffee, and know in my spirit that queso is from the Lord himself. Welcome!