No Hallmark card for you this year. Ever the procrastinator, I did not plan ahead for the mailing time that now separates us. I am sorry I won't be there this year, but I look forward to seeing you in June. As much as we both hate talking on the phone, like any son, I should call more.
I am truly blessed. You can not chose your family, but I somehow hit the lottery anyway. I have never doubted for a second my great fortune, and I am reminded of it every time we see each other. There is an ease and joy when we gather around the table and discuss things great and small. The love and respect we have for each other lies between all the words.
As I pondered the possibility of my own children, I thought about how you raised our family. I don't recall much formal discipline, only an understanding of right and wrong that you somehow communicated. But there were unspoken lessons every day, mostly from following the example of how you lived your life, and how you treated those around you. If there was a manual, it may have simply said "do the right thing".
As I see my friends with their young children, I am still amazed at the amount of time, effort and sacrifice each parent must invest to raise a child. Every day. Lessons and love in the first few years that no child will remember are still so important. And for all that effort, you can only hope that your child will grow up healthy, happy and maybe successful. There is so much out in the world out of your control, but you don't let that discourage you into giving less than your best effort.
And of course you never are off the clock, your life is no longer entirely your own. There may have been dreams that were set aside in order to raise a family. And yet you and Dad signed up for more and raised four children. I know it wasn't, but you somehow made it look easy. I am reminded of the plaque at the house that says, "Behave like a duck - stay calm on the surface, but paddle like crazy underneath."
Your support and encouragement have made me feel strong even in my weakest moments. As I stumble through this life, you have never made me feel like I wasn't an amazing success, even when it was clear I was just treading water. You made me understand what was most important, and those things are harder to measure. I don't say it enough, but I want to tell the world how much I love you, and how lucky I am to call you Mom. And to thank you for all the things great and small, remembered and forgotten. It is all a part of who I am.
And I will call...