A Letter to My Mom

Posted on 06/09/2015

We all have a “rock”.  A person who consistently provides unwavering stability.  This individual’s love, support, and compassion offers a sense of peace and comfort.  Providing support through life’s successes and failures, your rock always delivers a strong dose of honesty.  The first person to offer congratulations in moments of celebration, this warm soul extends guidance in times of uncertainty and need. 

For me, this person is my mother.

Yesterday highlighted this very truth.  After 35+ years of teaching in the Winona Public School District, my mom retired.  On her last day of school, I was flooded with numerous thoughts and emotions.

From a very young age, my mother and I developed an unbreakable bond.  Days and nights spent in the hospital carry the potential to enhance an already love-driven relationship.  I can remember laying in a hospital bed on the night of my fifth birthday, shortly before Christmas.  My chemotherapy treatments had become very intense and the medical staff wanted me to stay over-night for monitoring purposes.  Can you guess who was there holding my hand?   

Without further introduction, I’d like to share the letter I wrote to my mother on the day following her retirement from teaching.

Dear Mom,

What a ride it’s been!  I bet the certainty of retirement is yet to sink in.  For seasoned teachers, I believe it often takes a crisp, sunny September day to reveal the reality of retirement.  Whenever you experience this day, it’s my hope you recall all of the great experiences and entities that your 35+ years of teaching provided. 

Knowing you, I’m sure your children will be the first item that comes to mind.  Speaking of that, how does it feel to have your three children following in your “educational footsteps”?  In addition to being a rewarding profession that facilitates the betterment and development of people, I think Britta, Mollee, and myself have all realized teaching can provide a well-rounded lifestyle, especially when it comes to starting a family. 

This is just one of the many areas in which you and Dad succeeded.  I know I speak for my sisters when I say we are all so grateful for everything you have provided us.  Your hard work always yielded safety and comfort, while revealing never-ending opportunities and life-shaping experiences. 

While continuously educating a class of 25 students, you always had the time, energy, and love to help your children succeed in multiple areas of interest.  Whether it was sports, music, or other extra-curricular activities, you always expressed unbelievable support.  This is something that all mothers should provide their children.

However, you went above and beyond.

What separates you from so many other people is your compassion and ability to love with an open heart.  In moments of happiness and sadness, you taught me to follow my heart.  This truly is one of life’s greatest lessons.  In moments of question, sadness, and failure, I know that I will be okay because of what you’ve taught me.  We’ve endured so much together.  We’ve cried tears and questioned why certain things happen.  You and I have also shared great moments of celebration, laughter, and countless smiles.  All of these times were created as a direct result of your resilient love and compassion.

For this, I simply can’t thank you enough.

I know there are more difficult times ahead.  I also know that there are great moments of sunshine and pure happiness.  As the journey continues, I can’t wait to embark on the next chapter of life with you.  It’s my greatest hope that retirement provides you with good health, unconditional love, joy, continued success, and more smiles than tears.

I love you, Mom.

Your son,