Thank you for holding me tight as a baby, even though it might have seemed like you were denying strangers the pleasure of holding me — I know you just wanted to protect me. Thank you for being there when I took my first steps in the world and for holding my hand until I got there. Thank you for letting me have all of the snacks that Mom wouldn’t allow me, and for being my partner in crime.
Thank you for punishing me and teaching me that to succeed in life I need to play by the rules. Every time-out that I spent rocking myself back and forth in my room to pass the time just makes me appreciate you more now. Thank you for yelling at me, even when I sobbed and screamed about how much I hated you. You didn’t deserve the cruel names I called you or the silent treatment that I gave you after you grounded me for sneaking out in ninth grade. Thank you for guiding me into becoming the person I am now.
Thank you for scaring off potential suitors at the eighth grade dance. Though at the time it seemed like my life was over for not slow-dancing with any boys, the fond memory of getting ice cream cones with you afterword is as clear as yesterday. Thank you for interrogating any boy brave enough to ask your permission to date me in high school, even for the ones who you chased away because you deemed them unworthy of dating me. Thank you for telling me that a lot of men in the world are not worthy of my love and attention; and thank you for meaning it.
Thank you for offering your shoulder to cry on after my first devastating break-up and my first true heartbreak. You sensed I was upset and didn’t even have to ask. Thank you for not butting in and telling me “I told you so” even though you never liked that jerk. You comforted me without even saying anything; you put your arm around me and opened your ears to all of my jumbled words and tears. Thank you for listening.
Thank you for showing me exactly the kind of man who I deserve to marry, and feels lucky to marry me. Thank you for being exactly who you are to my mother, so that I can know in the inner strings of my heart that love exists and that I will find it for myself. Even in my own life when I lost hope, you showed me that love is the strongest force in the universe. Thank you for teaching me to never let go once I find it, and fight for it when I need to.
Thank you for believing, for hoping, for smiling, for laughing, for teaching, for loving, for supporting, for showing, and for prying.
In short, thank you for everything.
Your grown-up daughter