Thank you for believing in God. Thank you for never making me the center of your universe. Thank you for your cynicism and your deep faith. Thank you for teaching me, at a young age, the essence of paradox--how a thing can be one way and also the opposite. Thank you for always taking me to libraries and bookstores. Thank you for refusing to be my "best friend" when it became trendy for mothers to be their daughters' best friends. Thank you for refusing almost every trend. Thank you for the meals you cooked so lovingly after caring for sick infants and troubled teenagers all day. Thank you for teaching me how to tuck my underwear into my folded clothes when I got changed for swimming. Thank you for reading Thomas Merton and Teilhard de Chardin and Dostoevsky and Camus and Sartre, and for leaving those books around so that I could read them too. Thank you for being Euro af about all those cigarettes I smoked. Thank you for telling me that boredom was a failure of my imagination. Thank you for all of those flowers you handpainted onto my wedding invitations. Thank you for loving flowers, birds, leaves, mountains, and all of nature, and for passing that love on to me. Thank you for learning to ski when you were in your forties and enjoying it as much as you did. Thank you for putting up with my intolerable moodiness, lovesickness, and stubbornness, for so many years. Thank you for letting me listen to you argue politics and philosophy with Tante Irma and Uncle Arthur, for showing me what adult discourse and intelligent debate sounded like. Thank you for that trip to Europe when I was five, the trip to Calgary when I was ten, for letting me go to Paris at fifteen, and for being my and Brian's translator around Germany shortly after we got married. Thank you for letting me go to sleepover camp in Vermont, still an idyll in my mind. Thank you for trying to teach me to sew, knit, and crochet, even though I feel I'm largely unteachable in those areas. Thank you for never telling me I had to be a doctor. Thank you for the love and respect you always showed your own mother, and for the closeness you've always fostered with your siblings--for showing me, in short, what a loving family can be, despite great pain or deep differences of opinion. Thank you for the respect and dignity you've always shown all people, at stores, in waiting rooms, on the phone, on the street. Thank you for the years of piano lessons, for my education. Thank you for letting my friends come over and for understanding when I'd rather be at their houses than at my own. Thank you for telling me to pray. Thank you for letting me wear dark lipstick and short skirts, even though you didn't like them. Thank you for making me believe in impossible things, including myself. Thank you for never being totally impressed by any guy I was interested in, except when I got engaged. Thank you for never being easily impressed, period. Thank you for being a good sport when I do my impression of you in front of family and friends. Thank you for always exhorting me to not "be made of sugar." Thank you for hating television. Thank you for teaching me the psychological merit of a well-ordered space. Thank you for staying with us after Beatrice was born, for the quiet tenderness and attentiveness you offered each of us at that time. Thank you for staying with us before Simone was born, for your willingness to help when I was overwhelmed. Thank you for your annoying habit of challenging every single thing I say, which has taught me how to argue, how to stand firm in my convictions, and how to admit when I'm wrong. Thank you for your love of meaningful conversation, and your disdain of small-talk. Thank you for refusing to waste food, especially bread. Thank you for the chocolate sandwiches. Thank you for the stories from your childhood and from your time as a young doctor in the rural areas of Iraq. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for your exactingness. Thank you for your artistry. Thank you for showing me that a mother can be all of the things you are. Thank you for never letting me rest easy.
I love you,