My Mother’s Gifts for a Lifetime

creative non fiction

Author’s note: My mother passed away in February of this year. Below is a tribute I wrote for my mother 10 years ago. If it fits for your relationship, please feel free to use this as a template if you would like to write a tribute to your mother. Ten years went by fast and now I wish would have written something for my mother every year. 

Dear Mom,

Whyoung marvylat an amazing journey you have been on for the past 70 years. I’m proud to have known you for 39 of those 70 years. Time marches at a swift pace, even for me. I feel rushed by the way the clock ticks, and I have so many things to say and do before it stops. I also want to believe that if I put off saying and doing the things that are necessary it will make the clock tick longer and slower. But that is only an illusion.

Now that I’m a mother, I understand some of what I may have put you through. My life with my son is a series of unending days of worry. There are also many moments of joy, and I hope I have given some of those to you, too.

lighthouse-faron-spanish-englishLike my son does to me, I know I take you for granted. But I do so in the same way a person sailing a ship takes for granted the lighthouse on the shoreline. In the storms, the ship’s captain doesn’t consider that the lighthouse can be harmed by lightening, rain, and wind, but only that it serves to illuminate the way so the ship won’t be damaged. But of course, time and storms wear away at even a rock-solid lighthouse.

I’ve wanted to thank you for a long time for all of the things you have given me, and I don’t mean the material items although they have been appreciated and generous, too.

I’m grateful for these gifts:

My creativity
My love of books
My ability to recognize a solid, good person
My sense of family
My work ethic
My enjoyment of friends; and
My independent spirit.

My list could go on but these are the best aspects of my life to which you directly contributed.

Believe it or not, Friday night laundry was one of my favorite outings because I knew you would take me to the library.

I’m also happy for all of the field trips and birthday parties you organized for my friends and me.

I think a reason I’ve picked people for friends whom I genuinely like and are down-to-earth is because you showed me how with your friends.

We’re the kind of mother and daughter who finds it hard to utter the more tender feelings we have for each other. But I recognize your actions as the manifestations of those feelings. It meant more than I can ever say that you drove all that way from Iowa to New Mexico to visit us.

You’ve commented that turning 70 has kind of bothered you. It kind of bothers me, too, because it reminds me our time with each other is getting shorter. I understand you didn’t want to be the reason for us leaving New Mexico to move back to Iowa, but you were a big factor in that choice. I have no regrets about it as far as that aspect goes. I feel grateful my family and I can have this time with you.

This last year has been one of learning about a large unknown segment of your life. I know it has brought up a myriad of painful feelings for you. To  me, I find it adds depth to you as an interesting woman who is more than just my mother.

Whatever our time is left for each other–and I’m counting on it being many more years–I hope you will share even more with me about who you are.

And no matter how you feel about your name, I think Grandma was right to give it to you. You are marvelous, Marvyl Louise.

I love you very much,

Your daughter,