Wednesday, 14 February 2018

An Open Letter To My Parents On My Birthday

Dear Mom and Dad, 

As you both know, today is my birthday. I am well aware of the stories around my birth day- my arrival was eagerly anticipated by grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles, how mom yelled at dad to stay away from her and be quiet, how I had so much hair that the nurses put a bow in it. I hear these stories every year (thanks, mom)...so they are hard to forget. 

Today I will be celebrated by family, friends, colleagues, and maybe even strangers. All of the attention will be on me. People will make a fuss. I will get presents, cake, messages, cards, people wanting to go out and celebrate me with me. A little narcissistic perhaps...but that's how birthdays are celebrated. I appreciate everyone who adds to my "special day" and who loves and cares about me enough to go out of their way to wish me a happy birthday and/or to spend time with me. I really, truly do. 

But you, mom and dad, should be celebrated too. It's because of you that I was born. Mom carried me under her heart for all those months, and then had the unpleasant task of actually bringing me into the world. It wasn't a walk in the park for dad...on top of mom yelling at him, he was left alone with me so we could "bond" and I screamed the whole time. Dad didn't know what to do. 

Then the real work began. You had to raise me. You provided a roof over my head, food in my mouth. You made sure I was well taken care of and looked after. That I was always loved. You went above and beyond for me. You allowed me to make my mistakes and learn from them, but you always set me up to succeed. I was encouraged to do my best, not be the best. You provided a moral and ethical compass. You taught me to do the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing. You taught me to be loving, kind, giving, generous, patient. You taught me to not take life so seriously, and you taught me that nothing is ever truly bad- that I can overcome anything. You never gave up on me or stopped believing in me.

We can all agree that my life was not-and is not- typical. Being the daughter of a politician presented it's own challenges and adventures. That I was afforded many opportunities and experiences because of this. Thank you for making sure my life was full of culture, once in a lifetime experiences, travel, charity, and a dose of public life- being a civil servant, a steward of my communities. This has influenced and shaped me more than you will ever know...but this was also my normal. 

As I celebrate another birthday, another year lived, I hope you celebrate too. Feel free to celebrate me, but celebrate you too. You made me- literally! Everything I do and celebrate, you have a hand in. I'm acknowledged for my charitable giving, I got that from you. I'm recognized for a work success, I learned hardwork from you. I'm loved by friends, you showed me how to treat and value people. Everything I do, is influenced by you.

Thank you, mom and dad, for giving me a reason to celebrate my life, to acknowledge this milestone. 

Happy birthday to me...but happy birth day to you both.

With love,

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