I saw a version of this on Carlos Whittaker's blog, Ragamuffin Soul. I think it's the perfect answer to my Mother's Day post. (It's still Mother's Day in its country of origin, so leave me alone.)
1. I was so excited to go to Kindergarten, so excited to formally learn. I ran into that classroom, and I don't think I even looked back to see if you'd left; if I did, it was to make sure you had. You never let me see that bother you (I'm still not sure that it did). Thank you for fostering a love of learning in me.
2. In first grade, I was tired of being the only kid who read with expression. All the other kids stuttered their monotone ways through our readers; I thought that must have been the cool way to read, so I started doing it, too. I brought the style home, and you immediately scheduled a meeting with my teacher to discuss my declining reading level. She subscribed to an older version of teaching that encouraged all students to learn at the same level and would not budge to give me more challenging work. You took me to the public library and assigned me weekly chapter books to go through. Thank you for protecting my skills.
3. In second grade, I began to lose my first "best" friend. We had moved across town, and I was still clinging to the friendship, even though it was pretty much gone already. Thank you for patiently arranging play-dates and making the drives to and from her house.
4. In third grade, I got accepted into an alternative school and that friend did not. I was devastated and didn't want to go without her. You made me go anyway. Thank you.
5. In fourth grade, you got up almost every school morning to drive me to said alternative school instead of making me take the hour-and-a-half bus ride. We used that time to attempt to cram my spelling words into my head. None of them stuck, but the methodology you used to teach them to me did. Thanks for teaching me how to study.
6. In fifth grade, I began to experiment with everything, including how to do laundry. I attempted to wash my costume for the school play on my own. It was white, and I wanted it to look amazing, because I felt fat, dumpy, and ugly. I wanted people to see me and think I was pretty. So I added bluing to the wash, but I didn't realize it needed to be diluted. You stayed up making me a new costume for the play. Or maybe you bought it... but I think you made it. I know you made the jacket, but either way, it was your time and money that you lovingly gave to prevent the ridicule and reprimand for my actions. I'm grateful.
7. In sixth grade, I was asked to join with the high school orchestra for their Spring trip to New York City. You said I could go, but only if you went, too. I was horrified that you wanted to chaperon, but no amount of begging or attitude would change your mind. After having been on those trips as a high-schooler on those trips, all I have to say is that you made the right choice. Thanks for sticking to your guns.
8. In seventh grade, I went out of my way to hurt you. We'd moved again, and I didn't want to. You knew I was planning to run away. You called my likely refuges and warned them. You told them not to send me back if I left; you knew I'd do it again and in a more dangerous way. You told me later that you had been planning to sign over custody if I left. For the sake of my safety, you were willing to give up your rights to me. I'm astounded.
9. In eighth grade, I had the opportunity to tour the country with a singing group. You didn't feel comfortable with me being away for so long with a group you didn't know well, but still you drove me the day and a half out to training. When my phone calls started sounding fishy, you showed up at every one of our shows. You let me finish the tour, but you still looked out for me. I felt safer because I knew you'd be there.
10. In ninth grade, we were dealing with my on-going night-terrors. They were so intense. They still scare me to this day, and I know they scared you then. Thank you for not making me feel like a freak for having them.
11. In tenth grade, you made better costumes for ALL the madrigals. You stayed up later than I did a lot of the time. That couldn't have been easy for you, but I really appreciate it. It helped me stop being so much of a social outcast, which was (is) important to me.
12. In eleventh grade, you were working again. I knew you wanted to be working, but I didn't realize all your reasons. There's so much you did for me with the money you made from that job that I'm only realizing now. You give and give and give.
13. In twelfth grade, you gave me my space. I did a lot of things that I needed; those things probably hurt you, but you could also see why I needed to do them. You stood up for me, and fought the big battles WITH me (not for me). Words cannot express how truly grateful I am and always will be.
14. In college, you helped me move in, you giggled with me about boys, you talked to me when I called, and let me go without talking when I didn't. You sent me care packages (more than most kids got). You made the 14-hour drive whenever I had an important concert. You fought the urge to fly down every time I ended up in the ER and let me find my own two feet. You cheered for me as I flew around the world, and you didn't panic when I told you I'd be leaving again in a matter of weeks. You fished me out of the waters when I got in too deep, but never coddled me. AND helped me pay for toiletries. You win.
15. You were nothing but nice to my boyfriends, even when you told them to get lost. I really appreciate that.
16. I'm sure you cried when I told you I'd be moving to start my adult life out of the country, but you never let me see it. I needed that more than you can know. You came to visit me, I came to visit you, and we began to iron out our relationship as adults. It's not an easy process, but I'm sure we'll get it. Thank you for respecting me.
17. Recently, we've really begun to talk about faith - REAL faith. Sure, we talked about "faith" as a kid, but not like this. I appreciate that I can talk to you about things that are deep, and I'm floored by the extent of the faith you have. When we lost Pop-pop, I felt like I lost my rock, my anchor - the thing that would helm me back in if I floated too far away. I'm beginning to realize that I only lost one of a number of anchors, the exact number of which I can never be fully sure. Thank you for standing firm and for opening up to me.