Dear Readers: Happy Mother’s Day. Please phone your mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, stepmother or foster mother and wish them the best. And please don’t forget those for whom this day, for whatever reason, is filled with sadness. Give them a call and say you are thinking of them.
Dear Annie: Every Mother’s Day, I think of how often the amazing love that can be conferred by stepmothers is ignored on this day. When I was very little, my biological mother passed away. A few years later, my father married a wonderful woman who helped raise me. People often asked me whether she was my real mom. I always answered “yes.” We shared real smiles, had real fights and have real memories. She also put forward an enormous effort to make sure I maintained the cherished relationship I had with my biological mother’s family.
These women are there, attending our games and dance recitals. They are there when we need a shoulder to cry on. And they are there to pick us up when we fall. They may not have given birth to us, but they are real mothers. — A Real Daughter in Nebraska
Dear Daughter: Your letter arrived a while ago, but we saved it so that we could print it on Mother’s Day. For all the stepmothers out there, this day is also for you.
Dear Annie: Several years ago, you reprinted a Mother’s Day letter that appeared in the Ann Landers column. It started with something like “one-in-a- million Mom,” but I don’t remember much else. I only know that it reminded me a great deal of my own mother. Can you print it again? — Cassie in Kansas
Dear Cassie: With pleasure. Here it is:
To a one-in-a-million Mom, to you, dear lady, for all the dreams you dreamed for us. Not one of us became the ballerina or vocalist or pianist or doctor or lawyer you were hoping for. The boys didn’t become millionaires, and the girls didn’t learn to speak six languages. Instead we are the children who forgot to say “thank you” when it probably would have meant a lot to you. We are the ones who talked when we should have listened. We are the little tykes who woke you before dawn to serve you the breakfast-in-bed birthday special: burnt toast, weak tea, unscrambled eggs and half-raw bacon swimming in grease. We gathered around your bed and sang “Happy Birthday, Dear Mommy.” You pretended to be thrilled and tried your darnedest to eat the mess we brought to your bed.
Our childhood is over, and here are the “thank yous,” many years overdue. Thank you for being there when we needed you. Thanks for being our tower of strength when you needed support yourself. Thank you for believing in us when we had trouble believing in ourselves. Thank you for saying what we needed to hear and for knowing when silence meant more than words. Your wisdom seemed to come from a place that none of us could ever figure out. Thank you, Mom, for allowing us to dream our own dreams, even though your dreams were more glamorous. And thank you, too, for never letting on when we disappointed you.
Most of all, Mom, thank you for giving us the room we needed to grow and the freedom to learn from our own mistakes. We hope we can do half as well with our kids. — Your Loving Children
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.