To Mom on her Birthday

Dear Ma,

It’s your birthday again, and once more I am reminded of how gracious the Lord is to this otherwise fierce and cruel world to have blessed it with you – not that I do not always remember. 

I know that in spite of our separation during the four long years in college, I have always made an effort to cross the miles and be where you are.  This year, however, it appears that there can be no possible means for me to be there with you as the whole world shouts and celebrates the moment of your birth.  Yet even though I may not have the privilege of sharing a hug or a kiss with the one and only mother that I have and will ever need, please know that no heart yearns for you more than the one that remains on these shores.

I know there are moments when you think about how unfortunate and painfully sad it is that I should be separated from you, and I know I can flatter myself into thinking that my absence may evolve from a vague and indistinct blur to a rather tangible hole on this particular day of the year.  However, it is my wish that you do not center your attention on how long we’ve been apart, but instead think gladly of the coming day when God may reunite us once more. 

Allow me then to express, in the most eager attempt to remain in high spirits (for the universe does not render it permissible to shed lonely tears within the next twenty-four hours), my deep gratitude and sincere appreciation, for all the things you did NOT do – simply because I find that the phrase “all the things that you do” is so severely overused.

I thank you:

  • … that you did not get any sleep on the day I was born when you held me in your arms and simply stared in great wonderment at the child that was yours.  That moment was certainly the very first time I felt real love in the outside world.
  • … that you did not pursue the demands of your growing career so I could thoroughly enjoy the years of my childhood with the unparalleled care and supervision that only a mother could provide.
  • … that you did not separate love from discipline when I found myself worthy of grave punishment for all the reckless fruits of my rapidly developing yet nonetheless immature mind.
  • … that you did not choose to stay in bed in the early morning hours when I had to get ready for school.
  • … that you did not choose to go to bed so early in the night when I had to study for exams or comply with school requirements.
  • … that you did not break during the time of great distress, especially when you had no one else to run to and I was too young to understand.
  • … that you did not withhold from me the delicate details of youth, despite their being a rather uncomfortable topic for daily conversation.
  • … that you did not choose the path of anger when I finally grew up and entered the erratic phase of whimsical teenage years.
  • … that you did not hold on too tight — though I know you so desperately wanted to – and let me let go of your hand for the first time so I could pursue my heart’s unexplainable desire to study in a different city.
  • … that you did not withhold the pains and struggles of your heart when I was old enough to understand, and in consequence, allowed me to brace myself for the grave difficulties of the world.
  • … that you did not leave me when I was dismissed.
  • … that you did not find comfort in a world where I wasn’t there.
  • … that you did not tell me to condone the influence of evil for the sake of assumed peace.

If I were to complete this list, I would not finish it until your next birthday.  And so, to avoid the unjustifiable crime of extending a belated present, I shall end the counting here.

I wish that nothing else cross your face but happy smiles and tears of joy.  I wish that you celebrate life and thank the Lord for the one He gave you, and know that I am equally grateful that He chose you to be my mother for it has truly been, and still is, a great honor to be your child. 

I miss your warmth, I miss your voice, I miss your smile, I miss every moment we had together.  For until now, I have never learned to live in a world where you are an intolerable distance away.  Nonetheless, I pray you do not give in to sadness for my sake, because although I may get accustomed to the solitude, you will never have to worry that I may get used to not having you in my heart.


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