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An Open Letter to My Parents

A vintage picture of Frank and Milagro Polanco.

Open Letter to My Parents

There comes a point in your life when you start to feel your own mortality. You start to look back on all of your experiences and you realize that you are on a different journey. You are an adult with a family and you are a part of your children’s journey now.

I often wonder if I am where I am supposed to be. Have I lived a fulfilled life? Did I make my parents proud?

One thing I know for certain is that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for my parents.

I find that we often regret not saying things to our loved ones until it’s too late. This is an open letter to my parents, my pillars of support, and the ones who have always been there.

(If you want to check out other personal posts you may want to read, ‘15 Things I Learned by Being a Young Mom‘, ‘Letter to My Formal 20-Year-Old Self‘, and ‘Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far.’)

A family stands together at the airport.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I want to start off by saying that I love you more than words can ever express. If it is possible, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the immense sacrifice that you made for all of us. Packing our whole lives into 2 suitcases, and getting on a plane to a different country is the epitome of unconditional love.

I can’t even imagine the horrifying things you’ve seen and experienced in a time of a civil war, the violence and death. By saying that, I know that you left behind your entire lives. Everything you’ve ever known, your careers, your extended family. Your own parents.

I look back on our early years here in Canada as landed immigrants. I see things much differently now. The incredible sacrifices that both of you made to get us ahead. The jobs you worked to make sure we were taken care of. The abuse that you undoubtedly had to endure because you didn’t speak perfect English.

Our childhood was so happy, I hope you both know that.

We didn’t always have everything but, we never went without. We had a clean home, meals every day, clothes on our back, and an abundance of love. When you gave us the things we really wanted, we appreciated it so much. Knowing what I know now about being a parent, I know the sacrifice it takes. It’s no surprise that those little things, whether it was an experience or a toy, I still remember them with deep fondness. You taught me how to value, and that will stay with me forever.

Now, those tough years.

Man, they were tough. I know that I’ve said it before but, I’m sorry for the grief I brought you both. The things I said, I didn’t mean, the things I did, I wish I could take back. While I know it may pale in comparison to other situations and teen/parent relationships, I know it was hard for you. It was a time that I learned that you both were imperfectly perfect, that you had flaws too, and made mistakes. For anything you may feel bad for, I forgive you and it is forgotten. Just know that I’ve learned from them.

Thank you for being there through my darkest moments as an adult. For supporting me through the worst times and being there for the best times.

For helping me get my education and college degrees with a toddler at home. I couldn’t have done it without your help. For teaching Gabby how to read, write, and draw while I was gone at school. Years later, for doing the same with Mimi.

Especially for being an active, solid, and constant presence in the lives of Mimi and Gabby. From the moment they were in my womb, to being in the room when they were born, to being there on a daily basis. I can never pay you back for that.

It’s hard to think of a time when you won’t be in my life. Just know that when that inevitable day arrives, that you’ll be in my memory forever and always with love. I will think of you every single day until my day comes. I will honour you in every way I can, by being a good person and by making decisions that will make you proud.

I’ll carry with me the lessons that you taught me.

There are so many I can think of but, I’ll always remember to give happily and without expectation. To always make decisions with my heart but, use my head first. That family is the most important thing in the world. To be kind and love each other. To forgive each other and always be there for one another.

Thank you for showing me what love is through your own relationship. That it isn’t always perfect but, when you find the one that you love, you hold onto them. 43 years of love shows that and seeing you both today, I can see that love between you both even more. It gives me hope that Darasak and I can have that same love too. I look forward to celebrating even more years of love with you!

One of the biggest things I will take from your example is that you never stop being a parent. Not until you’re no longer of this earth. You both are the personification of this, you have always been there without fail.

I will continue that with my own girls. I will love them with the same unconditional love you gave me and continue to give me.

Love you forever and always,

Nancy

 


I always say that if you have the chance today to tell someone how you feel, you should. Every day is not a guarantee. I don’t often get personal here but, when I do–it’s pretty sappy!

If you want to check out other personal posts you may want to read, ‘15 Things I Learned by Being a Young Mom‘, ‘Letter to My Formal 20-Year-Old Self‘, and ‘Life Lessons I’ve Learned So Far.’

Have you told someone how you feel lately?

Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!

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72 Comments

  1. That’s a beautiful letter to your parents! Our parents did a lot for us! I apreciate it even more now that I am a parent too.

  2. How sweet! I think as we age we really learn to appreciate our families, which is sad because it’s usually the same time that we have lives of our own and can’t spend as much time with them.

  3. What a lovely letter. It’s wonderful that you had parents like them, who supported you and got you through those tough times. I think it is so meaningful that you appreciate them.

  4. I recently came to this realization as well after the passing of my mother. What a blessing to read the wonderful words you shared for your parents.

  5. What a beautiful story. Family can be…complicated, just as much as it can leave you with the lovely lasting memories. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Life lessons we learn. Comes a time we can all relate to what you have written. I am now the old woman not young. That is okay

  7. I can totally relate to THAT moment when you start to think of your own mortality. For me, it was over the summer when 2 of my closest friends passed away. Losing them changed me. I am more cognizant to show appreciation to others. Letting them know I love and appreciate them so there’s no doubt.

  8. Such a beautiful letter which brought tears to my eyes. Our parents are so important to us and I’m so glad mine were there through the good, bad and ugly.

  9. This was so beautiful. Families have ups and downs, and sometimes the downs can be really, really down – brutal even. At the end of the day, though. We love each other and we know we have each other.

  10. It is always important to look back at the people who positively made us into who we are. I like seeing these photos. My daughter has been going through my old photo albums to see photos of my parents, too.

  11. I have always believed in telling people how you feel. We never know what will happen, so letting people know how you feel is important. You letter to your parents was very beautiful.

  12. What an absolutely beautiful letter to your parents. I hate to think that one day my parents will be frail and old (ask them and they will tell you they are already getting that way). They are such amazing people and sounds like your parents are to.

  13. My letter to my parents would have to be – I know you did the best you could with what you had. I love you, and as an adult I understand now more than ever how difficult raising me and my sister must have been.

  14. What a sweet idea. I think this is a great note to your family. I might do this for my Mom for her birthday.

  15. My family has always been good about telling each other we love them. It’s one of the things I’ve always treasured about my family and I miss hearing it from my mom every day now that she is no longer with us. Don’t wait to let those you love know how you feel because you never know when you won’t be able to do it any longer.

    1. I completely agree. We are the same, we have always told each other but, I think we often wait too long to apologize, to thank, and to say things we want to. You are right about never knowing how long you have.

  16. I could apologize a lot on the grief I caused my parents. I am so thankful for my parents. They are amazing. What a special article to share!

  17. Having a strong family and maintaining a relationship with parents is so important. It’s tough to make it through the rough times we all have and not pull apart. I am glad you all kept it together.

  18. Just beautiful. They sound like amazing parents. That’s a great takeaway..never stop being parents… 3 of my kids are in their teen years and there are some very hard days. But I will never stop being a parent

  19. Awww, that was such a wonderful thing to do. As a parent of adult children, I can say that parents everywhere love it when their children give them public recognition.

  20. Nancy, this is so incredibly touching. My mom hasn’t been doing well as of late, and it reminds me to appreciate all the moments with my parents and to reassure them that I am happy and that I had a good childhood, and how much I appreciate them.

  21. What a beautiful, heart-felt letter to your parents. Just this afternoon I was thinking about my parents who are aging and not in the best of health. I was reminding myself to talk with them more about how thankful I am for all that they’ve done for all of their children and grandchildren, and continue to lavish them with love. Although we do this often, even that is not nearly often enough!

  22. Such a beautiful letter. I know the feeling when you can’t thank your folks enough for what they have done for you.

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