A Love Letter to my Parents

Feb 14

Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I don’t tell you often enough how much I love you and how grateful I am to have you as my parents. It’s easy for me to say “I love you” when we talk on the phone, to send you a quick e-mail when I read a new tidbit about the UConn women’s basketball team, or to think of you when I sing “A Summer Song” to the kids. But I want to put into words – because I am a writer, and because you both supported me unconditionally when I got the crazy idea two years ago that I was going to become one – just how much I appreciate you, and how much becoming a parent of three – just like you – has helped me understand how lucky I am to be your daughter.

Mom, I learned everything I know about being a mother from you, though I rarely do the job with as much grace as you always did. You are the most patient person that I know. I remember lots of things from my childhood – walking on your back, you brushing out my waist-long hair every morning, watching The Price is Right and Guiding Light together during the summer – but I don’t remember ever seeing you yell. Not once. I watch you now with the kids, them spinning around you like ill-programmed satellites; me at the outskirts, my blood pressure rising, trying to will order onto them; and you sitting on the floor in the middle, placid, smiling. (How is that possible? To rule through sheer force of calm?) You are a model of generosity and selflessness. You are as good a friend as you are a mother and you’ve taught me how to extend kindness even when – especially when – it’s not so easy to do so. I’ve always felt like the best version of myself when I look at myself through your eyes. You make me feel smart and strong and beautiful; I only hope I can raise my children to feel as good about themselves as you’ve always made me feel.

Dad, for as long as I can remember, you have made me understand that I could do – that a girl could do – anything I set my mind to. You taught me how to dribble, then to make a layup, then to shoot a foul shot, and helped me learn that the only way to get some boys to pass me the ball was to run up and take it from them. You’ve taught me not to be afraid of achievement, to be proud to excel, and to speak up – loudly. But I also credit you with laying another foundation inside of me: you taught me through your example that trappings of success don’t matter, that being comfortable with who you are and what you’re doing matters in ways that name brands and fancy cars never will. You’ve passed on your love of big, fat books and all the facts inside. You gave me your memory – and very likely made me a history teacher. You made sure that I saw this vast country of ours – I know I’ll make it to Oklahoma and South Dakota some day – and that I understood where I came from. You’ve always told me that you’ll support me in whatever I do – and, better yet, you’ve meant it. I’ve never doubted how proud you are of me; I only hope I can always make my kids feel that same brand of unconditional love.

I am the woman I am and the mother I am because of you. I love you, Mom and Dad. I hope you always know how much.

Love,

Kris

I’m linking up today with Love it Up, hosted by Jen and Sarah at Momalom. Please join our Love Fest and share your own love letter.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Carin February 14, 2013 at 6:09 am

What a lovely tribute to your mum and dad! It made me tear up! x

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Rabbi Rachel Barenblat February 14, 2013 at 7:12 am

Oh, this is such a wonderful post!

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Shannon February 14, 2013 at 8:39 am

I love that you chose to write your love letter to your Mom and Dad.
Question: Did Reva and Josh end up together in the end? (Yes, I watched Guiding Light, too, but with my Grandma), and I spent countless hours in the driveway with a ball and a hoop and my dad. So, your letter hits home for me.

With one exception – Go UK!!!

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Kristen February 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

My mom would know for sure because she watched it till the bitter end, but I’m almost positive that they ended up together after decades of hits and misses. (I watched the last episode or two for old time’s sake.)

But – sorry – you’ll get no UK love from me. (I’ve always loved Ashley Judd, but I can’t stand John Calipari!) ;)

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facie February 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

What a lovely post. Your parents sound great. Are you/did you share this with them? I am sure it will be a wonderful Valentine’s gift to them.

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Kristen February 14, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I did send it to both of them this morning. :)

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Andrea February 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

What a lovely letter and a lovely thing to do. How lucky you are to have parents like them, and how lucky they are to have you! (I did not mean for that to rhyme, but Valentine’s day IS poetry time).

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Kristen February 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm

How very Seussical of you!

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Lindsey February 14, 2013 at 10:11 am

I love. Crying. Beautiful. xoxo

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Melissa February 14, 2013 at 10:25 am

Beautiful!

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Justine February 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Tears! Because it’s such a beautiful tribute and also because I could only wish I had a relationship like that with my parents.

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lisa February 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Oh my, this is beautiful. It made me tear up! What a lovely tribute to your parents. Happy Heart Day to you and yours. xo

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Denise February 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm

A fabulous idea to write a love letter to your parents. This is a gorgeous tribute to them both–and I’m so glad you sent it to them. I’ll bet they were barely able to read your words for their tears and swelling hearts. xoxo

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TheKitchenWitch February 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I love it. I know they will, too.

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Perfecting Motherhood February 15, 2013 at 12:29 am

What a great tribute to your parents! You’ve so lucky to have had them in your life and to have had such a happy childhood. Of course, I see how it could make them have high expectations of yourself as a parent. But I’m sure you’re managing quite well. Ha, I don’t have that problem and I know that whatever I do, it’ll be better for my kids than what I had. It’s quite a relief when I think about it. ;-)

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Kate February 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

This is so lovely.

Of course you come from such wonderful people.

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Lara February 15, 2013 at 3:37 pm

This was beautiful. I might have even shed a few tears. Good job, you.

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Kristen February 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Thank you, Lara!

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Sarah @ Powers of Mine February 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I’ve always felt like the best version of myself when I look at myself through your eyes.

Oof, this line got me. Love that you did this. So important, and yet not an easy piece to write (because you want to do it RIGHT, you know? and you DID). Loved it. Thank you.

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Heidi February 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm

What an amazing tribute to your parents, and I would imagine that you are more like your mother than you recognize!

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Kristen February 20, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Oh, I hope so. That would be the greatest compliment there is!

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Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Love this so much, Kristen. xoxo

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Arnebya February 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

This is gorgeously heartfelt. I know it means a lot to them to know you love and appreciate them.

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Mommyproof February 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Such a sweet post. As a former writer for Guiding Light, I appreciated that detail :) But, more importantly, it’s so lovely to see someone acknowledge their parents in this way– I need to write one of these myself!

xox

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Kristen February 20, 2013 at 1:54 pm

You wrote for Guiding Light?! How cool! My mom was a die-hard fan up until the final episode. I didn’t watch it too often as an adult, but would catch an episode here and there when I had a day off or was home sick. I’m actually pretty fascinated by the decline of soap operas and the way that they’ve been replaced by reality TV and talk shows: a big loss in our culture’s story-telling tradition, I think.

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Mommyproof February 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Oh yes, it’s really quite sad (of course, I’m biased!) that almost all the soaps have gone off the air (though some are seeing a rebirth on the web, this didn’t happen for GL). I wrote a little essay about it here if you’re interested: http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=30178

Of course, we have tons of primetime soaps, but daytime just got too expensive (cast, crew, writers). Unfortunate, but I suppose these things happen for a reason :)

xox

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Ayala February 18, 2013 at 8:36 am

A wonderful tribute to wonderful parents. I love it ! :)

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rebecca @ altared spaces February 18, 2013 at 6:40 pm

“I’ve always felt like the best version of myself when I look at myself through your eyes.” We all want to give this gift to our children.

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Lady Jennie February 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm

My Dad gave up on my “basketball career” before i even began. And rightly so.

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Kristen February 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

This one made me smile.

Here’s to parents who see us for who we really are and not who they would like us to be.

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Cecilia February 22, 2013 at 7:46 am

Sorry I am so late catching up! I just love this, Kristen. I love that you have not only such wonderful parents but the kind of relationship in which you can share your feelings with them so comfortably. For cultural reasons I wonder if I will ever be able to say all of this to them…but I am hoping that our son will be able to express himself this way to us. Inspiring!

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Cecilia February 22, 2013 at 7:47 am

P.S. My head is not working properly this morning…I meant to write, “For cultural reasons I wonder if I will ever be able to say all of this to my parents.” ;-)

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Jen February 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Kristen, In a way I find this love letter more intimate than a more “typical” romantic love letter. You share so much of yourself and your experiences and how you’ve come to be who you are. Thanks for joining Love It Up.

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