No words could possibly capture the amount of gratitude you are owed. But I am going to try, with teary eyes and a big cup of coffee next to me, to tell you how much you mean to me and how thankful I am for all that you’ve done for me.
The older I get, the more I grow to respect and admire you for the woman you are and how you shaped me into who I am.
But now that I have grown I see just how purposeful you really were in raising me. I see that everything good about me was hand-crafted by you.
I’m articulate, comfortable expressing myself and outgoing because you relentlessly encouraged me to be. You and Dad listened to every feeling and opinion I had, big or small, and gave value to them. You fostered an environment where openness and honesty were encouraged, and where emotions ran like a river. I know for a fact this wasn’t always easy, but truly it made all of the difference.
I’m confident and driven because you never squashed my big personality or dreams. You built me up. You let me be loud and bossy and never made me feel like there was anything wrong with that. You took me out for ice cream for every A, proofread my homework and pushed me to take difficult chances because you believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
I’m fearlessly creative from the crafts you’d set up in the kitchen, countless journals you’d buy me for my stories and every glowing affirmation you gave my work. You took me to every voice lesson, laced up my ballet shoes and hung my paintings on the fridge. You fundraised like a mad woman for the musicals I partook in. You read computer program manuals with me to get to the bottom of my curiosities. You listened to me struggle to hit the right chords on my guitar. You sat in the stands at every performance, day or night, rain or shine, without exception.
You encouraged my imagination to run wild, and you never allowed me to back down from a new creative challenge.
I’m thoughtful, compassionate and kind because you instilled those values in me in every way possible. I vividly remember riding home from school one day in elementary school telling you how I wanted to win some academic award or be the best in English. You looked at me calmly and said, “Lexi, the most important thing in life is to be kind.”
After moving to various cities, encountering different people and doing my fair share of traveling, I’ve learned very concretely that a lot of people do not share those qualities. Because it’s not easy to be that way. It takes thoughtful dedication to be a kind person, and you champion that every day. Having the example right in front of me was a novelty and one that indisputably impacted who I would become.
You loved me humbly. You were the woman behind the scenes when I got to walk in the light. You were the one that lived selflessly so that I could become all that I wanted to be and get everything out of life that I sought.
It was immensely hard for me to see that at the time, but I do now.
You loved me patiently. You absorbed all of my fears, frailties, and flaws and did not falter in persistent kindness and support. You loved me through angsty teenage dorm slams and I hate yous. You loved me through times of sadness, confusion and messy self-discovery. You were there when it felt like no one else was.
You taught me that love conquered all. You showed me resilient, fearless love for your husband, children, friends, and family. You showed me that it was OK to be vulngerable, and that strong relationships with others truly will matter more than any paycheck, fancy car or jet-setting adventure.
Though I took this for granted, I now see that so many people will never understand these lessons about love that I learned so early.
Thank you for every movie night, pillow fort, soccer game, musical and craft day. Thank you for dancing around your bedroom with us singing Shania Twain with round brushes as microphones. Thank you for teaching me how to play, laugh and enjoy the simple parts of life.
Thank you for making me apologize to others when I messed up. Thank you for teaching me the importance of gratitude and humility. Thank you for getting me 1000x books, soccer cleats, guitars, journals or tap shoes every time I had a new dream I wanted to chase. Thank you for moving me in and out of every apartment I’ve ventured to the past five years. Thank you for teaching me to be brave, hard-working and courageous. Thank you for pushing me.
Thank you for crafting me into who I am today.
All that I am, I am in you.