Congratulations on your retirement! It’s such a big step in your life, and I started to think about all the things that you’ve done for me over the years – all the while working or going to school. In doing so, I remembered how proud I am of you, and how amazed that you were able to juggle John & I, and all of our activities and issues over the years, while making sure that you were fulfilled in your life and career.
When I was 4 and you’d take me on my weekly field trip, I had the most fun a girl could have, going to beach, riding elephants at the zoo, and making masks. You name it! You were creative and engaging, and gave me a solid foundation for wanting to live near the beach, go to Africa to ride elephants, and collect treasures from around the world.
When I was 7 and you dropped me off at summer camp, I didn’t want to come home. Not because I didn’t love you, but because I loved independence (and living in a tent!) so much. I’m pretty sure I get that from you.
When you told me that you were going to be a Realtor, I thought you were so glamorous in your suit and neck scarf! And I was jealous that you got to go visit fancy houses and help people make such a big decision.
When you decided to go back to school for Library Science, I didn’t quite understand it. But I loved you for it. I loved that you wanted something more for yourself. Something that brought you joy, and gave you a sense of accomplishment. (I wasn’t quite as crazy about you student teaching at my high school, though; I’m sure you understand.) But knowing that in the end you were doing what you wanted, to further your own path. That’s the woman that I wanted to be.
But you didn’t just become a librarian. You stayed the perfect mom.
Thank you for coming to Charlottesville when I was having surgery, just in case. You knew that I’d need you, even if I didn’t think I did. Boy, did I need you then.
When I wanted to study in Europe, I didn’t have to beg. It was assumed that, of course, I would leave the country for 6 months. Thank you for coming to New York to see me off, and to spend a few girl-time days!
And thank you for being at the airport to welcome me home, broken. Thank you for taking me to the hospital, and helping me through the toughest 4 days I’ve ever had. I know that those days were hard on you too – and I will never forget the tears that fell from both our eyes when we heard the news that I was going to be alright.
As independent as I was, you knew that it might be best for me to come home after a tortuous first 6 months in Houston. You believed that I would make it on my own, but you knew when I was down and out, and were ready, with open arms and a U-Haul if needed, to bring me home.
And when I moved across the country, bought a house with a guy you hardly knew, then married him, you were nothing but supportive. You supported my career, my plans with the house, and were there to bounce wedding ideas off of.
You didn’t want to ever take over, and make my wedding what you wish yours had been (pink sparkling wine anyone?). Instead you saw my vision for the perfect wedding, and wanted to make that come true. And you did. You visited locations with me, tasted food with me, and encouraged me to fire that awful wedding planner! Jiggers as a wedding favor? No, thanks!
When I graduated with my MBA, you sat in the crowd, cheering as I held up that diploma that I’d worked so hard for. I get that drive from you. Then you helped me to throw the biggest and best graduation bash a girl could hope for. Margaritas, anyone?
And through all of this, you were working hard. You’ve worked awfully hard over the past
15 45 years, and you deserve all the celebration that you can take! Fifteen years at DSHA, guiding future women leaders, teaching them how to independently research, and creating an open and inviting learning center and technological resource for these young women – Wow! Such an amazing accomplishment. I’m certain that your students appreciate all that you’ve done for them, even if they didn’t realize it until that scary first paper was due in college!
Enjoy your dinner out, your summer off, and your trip to China in the fall. Take up a new hobby, read a few books, explore. You deserve to do what you want to do – as long as you stay the amazing mother that you are.
All my love,