So many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in you, woven between the threads of skinned knees and dance recitals. And although I never forget to say “I love you,” I often forget to share another heartfelt expression: “Thank you.” Of everyone in the proverbial village who raised me, your fingerprints left the deepest impression – molding and shaping and leading me with each patterned whorl of your delicate hands. So today, it’s time for a “thank you” – a letter of appreciation for leaving your mark on my life in so many beautiful (sometimes odd and unexpected) ways:
Thank you for encouraging me to strive for inner beauty first. To bite my tongue, turn the other cheek and offer grace in every circumstance. Thank you for refusing to perm my hair in 5th grade (you were right – I would have totally regretted it). For sacrificing the quiet mornings you treasure to feed and prep three lively, boisterous daughters for school. For reading my vacation journals with sheer enjoyment, encouraging my love for writing at such an early age. Thank you for preserving dinner time as family time. For taking an interest in my friends – as embarrassing as it might have been – and making sure I was in a basket with good, nutritious apples. Thank you for keeping my hem lengths longer than I’d wanted. For introducing me to Eric Clapton’s music. Thank you for understanding why I needed to move to Los Angeles – as hard as it was to watch your youngest girl drive away across the country. For teaching me the understated beauty of a pencil skirt. Thank you for letting me play DJ on long car trips. For creating a home that values love, authenticity and respect for each other. Thank you for documenting my childhood, meticulously crafting scrapbooks and albums and memories. For cooking chocolate chip pancakes on the weekends. For letting me learn the hard way while teaching me the right way. Thank you for the nail polish trick that encouraged me to quit sucking my thumb. For attending countless swim meets and dance recitals and spelling bees – sometimes all in one exhausting night. Thank you for teaching me the value of a dollar and the non-monetary reward for hard work. For sharing your chocolate chip milkshake every Sunday. Thank you for giving me braces even though I hated those rubber bands. For always making me feel like I was enough. For standing tall during hardship while allowing your vulnerability to shine through. For being a mother. For being my mother.
We’re celebrating Mother’s Day by celebrating leaning in to motherhood, and by recognizing the extraordinary women that are our own mothers. We hope that it will inspire you to thank your own mother, or the mother who most inspires you. Find more letters and stories about leaning into motherhood here. And, of course, find your own Lean In inspiration at LeanIn.org.