Dear Mommy & Daddy,
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 is the Bible verse you taught me to show me what love is and that that is how you love me. Thank you for loving me in this way.
I appreciate you for raising me into the person I am today and for everything you have done for me.
I thank God, too, for giving me parents like you. You both mean the world to me, and I don't know what I'd do without you.
So, I'm honoring you, my beloved mother and father, with a letter for Valentine's Day that details just 5 of the many reasons why I love you.
$11,000 a year. It still astounds me that, as a family, you guys made only $11,000 a year when I was just a baby. But with hard work and savings, you were able to raise me and my sister in a Coop apartment and give us more than we probably needed.
I know you sacrificed a lot of money, time and mental space to raise two little girls, and you did a dang good job of it by teaching us that family always comes first. Dad, I appreciate your consistently seeking ways to support us, including through your love of martial arts; and Mom, I am so proud of you for getting your B.A. all these years later after we forced you out of school.
2. You constantly support me.
"It's your decision," you told me when it came to deciding which high school and which college to attend. Meanwhile, other people tried to force me to go to Harvard and then called me stupid for not matriculating there even though I'd gotten in. Thank you for helping me to hold my ground. I don't think I would have been happy there as an undergrad, and if I hadn't had your support, I probably would've suffered.
It's not just with school, but with everything, that you show me support, and I am so thankful to you for that. Like that time I moved back home, pregnant and technically single… yeah, thanks for that too. Truly. Without your help then, I don't where Equis and I would be today--definitely not in our own apartment now.
Knicks games, Parents Policy Council meetings, dentist appointments, Gotham Writer's Workshop or a birthday party--it doesn't matter what I have to do, I know I can count on you to say, "Yes, I'll babysit." Thank you for sacrificing your time, just as you did for me when I was younger, to hang out with my little one.
What makes me even happier is that Equis loves hanging out with you guys too. "Da! Papa!" Equis insists on seeing Grandma and Grandpa every morning as we walk to school. That's how much he appreciates and loves you too.
4. You taught me compassion for community.
I will never forget our family biking trips, especially the ones where we rode around our neighborhood handing out t-shirts and sandwiches to people without homes. Nor will I forget the times we served Thanksgiving dinner at church soup kitchens instead of selfishly staying at home. Thank you for instilling in me the love for social justice and community service that has dominated my resume and drives me today.
Without fail, when I'm walking down the street, I'll hear, "Hey, you! You're the daughter of…" and I'll nod and smile.
"Yes," I say, "That's my mom and dad."
"Oh, they're such sweet people. I love them!" they beam.
And they're right. You are sweet, loving people, and everyone who knows you in the neighborhood reminds me how great you are. Your altruism, resourcefulness and kindness don't go unnoticed.
Thank you for being such good people. I have a lot to live up to.
Happy Valentine's Day, Daddy.
Happy Valentine's Day, Mommy.
I love you both so much.
This post is also linked to Pour Your Heart Out with Things I Can't Say.