A Letter for my Mom

I’m writing this on my 34th birthday, March 9th. A day after the official International Women’s Day. I spent the last couple days with my son in the hospital while a team of healthcare providers monitored his breathing after a scary case of the croup. My mom was right there, as always, when I needed her. To the woman who, from the beginning, inspires me every day, THANK YOU.

Thank you for bringing me into your world 34 years ago and for never stopping loving me. I know now, how much I turned it upside down, in both wonderful and “trying” ways. I took away your free time (and your money), cried and whined incessantly, and dragged you to softball games when you secretly wanted to be on a beach in the Cape. You loved me through the epic toddler tantrums and awful moments of my preteen to young adult years. You forgave me when I was mean and hurtful or disappointed you. When I felt ashamed and embarrassed you reminded me how I am still loved. Even more, you gave me a sister who loves me the same way you do. I remember you once saying to me there are both givers and takers in this world. I hope to always remember your selflessness and unconditional love as I raise Annie and Ryan and try to become more of a giver, like you. A giver of time, comfort, strength, love and support.

My time is filled with happy family memories. Apple and pumpkin picking with family and friends. Christmas at our house and gifts that were impossible to unwrap! Sledding and hot chocolate on snow days. You threw us birthday parties and let us skip school for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. We colored eggs for Easter and always got the best baskets. You and Dad made it to all our dance recitals and games. We went to Rangers games, concerts, and Broadway shows. In summer, you jumped in the pool with us or stood guard while we rode boogie boards in the ocean waves. You took us on family vacations as much as possible and weren’t afraid to ride roller coasters, jet skis, or ATVs with us. In all these moments lies time I spent with my free spirited and adventurous mom.

You made the good times better and the scary times easier. You still do, and in a way that gives both comfort and strength. My panic and guilt stricken voice on Thursday was met with your no nonsense, get it together tone of voice and words of “I’m leaving now. I’ll be right there”. It reminded me that I needed to be strong and level-headed to take care of Ryan in that moment, even if I too wanted my mom. And once you arrived to the hospital you wouldn’t let me go down the rabbit hole of guilt and dwell on everything I thought I did wrong, or put myself down. “Stop doing that to yourself, Nicole”. You comfort me with your unwavering support and dependability, but also in a way that forces me to be stronger and more independent.

Raising two strong, independent girls who could rely on themselves if need be has always been your goal. You loved that we wore both ballerina slippers and cleats. With Dad, you made sure college was a choice if we sought that path. You still try to convince us to learn to golf and encourage me to sign Annie up for lessons. “Lots of business deals happen on the golf course”. From when we were little girls you pushed the narrative of financial independence and having a seat at the table. In honor of International Women’s Day and on my birthday, I want to celebrate and thank you.

I admire you. I appreciate you. I love you.