Dear Mom & Dad,
How are you? Is the sun shining? Are you doing well?
It’s two days into the school year and the stack of papers on my desk is already more than I can carry.
Instead of tackling that parchment pile of pain, I watched a movie (don’t get mad at me) called “Beautiful Boy” about a father and his meth-addicted son, whom he loved very much. I don’t remember at what point in the movie I started crying, but I know I couldn’t stop after I started, even during the happy parts. It really made me think about you both.
Don’t worry y’all, I’m not addicted to meth.
This boy would do all the agony-inflicting things addicts do, but like clockwork, his father was always there, ready to forgive and help and love him because no matter what, that was still his beautiful boy. “Everything”, they would say to each other, because when the boy was young, his father told him, “You know how much I love you? I love you more than everything.” Grammatically incorrect, by the way, it should be “anything” but you know, whatever.
In any case, when the movie was over, I just lay in bed (still not doing work) thinking about how impossibly much you love me.
We’re all taught that love is the most powerful thing in the world, but there needs to be a qualifier on that, I’m sorry. A parent’s love is not something learned, like romantic love. It just is. Right out the womb, BOOM. I was fortunate enough to be born to you, these people who would go on to spend the rest of their lives caring about me more than their own selves.
Words cannot convey what you have given up in order for me to have the life I do, despite the guttural, heart-rending suffering I’ve put you through in my twenty years of life. Any success I have ever had, or ever will, is solely attributed to how you’ve shaped me, inspired me, and loved me. I’m so unbelievably proud to be your daughter.
Though I’d never be able to fit the gratitude you deserve here, there are a few things I’d like to thank you for:
Thank you for showing me, not telling me, what courage and hard work looks like and where it can take you.
Thank you for being good cooks (I miss your food more than you know).
Thank you for showing me pain so that I knew the sting and could grow resilient, while somehow simultaneously showing me that you would burn down the world if it hurt me.
Thank you for creating a space where I know I will be safe when the weight of a hundred papers, a thousand prelims, and three million pages of assigned reading are on my shoulders and it feels like nothing will ever be right again.
Thank you for hugging my demons as tightly as you hug me.
Thank you for being strong when I am weak, loving when I am cold, and my rock when I am crumbling.
Thank you for letting me be the one to cry every time we have to say goodbye.
Thank you for the worried calls I get annoyed at, and for telling me to sleep even when I scream that I’m fine.
Thank you for making me laugh every time you need my help to use the internet.
Thank you for being even more excited than I was when I got into Cornell, and for celebrating every other one of my victories as if they were your own.
Thank you for pushing me and telling me I could be whatever I wanted, that I was special, even when all I wanted to do was curl up under the covers and never come out.
Thank you for loving me when I hate me.
Thank you for loving me when I hate you.
Thank you for putting up with watching that cute little baby thing you created turn into a bratty, asshole teenager.
Thank you for being the two most important people in my life.
Thank you for loving me more than everything.
I love you more than everything too.
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