To the Parents Who Gave Up Their Lives So I Could Have Help in Mine, Thank You

Dear Mom and Dad,

Its nearly February when families will take down the snowmen scenes and begin decorating their home with red and pink hearts to symbolize the month of love.

This year as we enter into the month, I realize, no symbol expresses or explains the love you have shown and continue to show me. About a year and a half ago, you gave up your dream, the one you worked your entire adulthood for, to help in mine. My dream of being a mom. It hasn’t gone quite as planned and so you, in your retirement decided to be there, for me.

I remember as a child, traveling to Virginia and your plans to retire in Williamsburg, and that you did. You headed south a few weeks after I first got married and when you left, I think I must have felt much like you did the first time I set off for college on my own.

I was happy, for you but I was oh so sad for myself. Still, when the calls rolled in about a game of Train or a hole in one, my heart soared. My entire childhood you worked to give me the best life and I was grateful it was now your turn, to live your best life.

And then, autism.

You watched as my husband and I struggled through the diagnosis, weeping alongside us as we lamented the life we planned to have and cheering us on as we began to accept the new path we’d follow and we were excited when you visited and celebrated the growth you would see in our youngest child.

While we were thankful for those moments of respite. A dinner out. A weekend away. Someone to do dishes while I worked countless hours to get what my daughter rightfully deserved, you did so much and yet you wanted to do more.

About a year and a half ago, you left a church family you loved, a neighborhood that was more than a community of homes and friends who became family to be here, for me.

Today, you are always willing to be here. To listen. To give a hand. To show up with a bottle of wine, a box of tissues and some treats for the kids and knowing you are just a short car ride away, gives me peace and comfort.

Mom and Dad, this past year we celebrated 41 Years of GOTCHA’S for me, but really, I am the one who won out because not only did I get parents when you chose to adopt me, I found my best friends.

As we celebrate Valentine’s this year, I am thankful for the love you show, to me and anyone else who is lucky enough to be in your presence.

Always and forever your girl,

Bets

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