August 25, 2003. 6am. I awoke to the worst pain I’d ever experienced. And the Today Show. Among the stories of the day was a little something about the planet Mars. In just 48 hours, the red planet would be closer to earth than it had been or would be for tens of thousands of years. August 27th was touted as a day for a truly once in a lifetime event.
It turns out they were right.
Even as I sit down to write you this letter, I know that my words will fail. The sentiments I wish to express are the type best communicated through cuddles and kisses on foreheads. But I cannot let this day pass without making some effort to share with you what the last 10 years of our life together have meant to me.
You are my good thing. I am a flawed perfectionist, rarely at ease with the fruits of my labor. But when I look at you, I feel nothing but pride.
You give my life purpose. Not the purpose I once craved — degrees and career milestones, but a purpose that actually matters. When people talk about the things that make life worth living, they are speaking of you.
You brighten every day. Just the thought of you puts a smile on my face. The sight of you makes me grin. Your voice makes my heart leap for joy.
You save my life. Everyday, for 10 years, you have been my guardian angel, protecting me from the worst that the world, and I, have to offer.
I know that I will never give you as much as you have given me. But I will always try. My goal each day is to be the mother that you need, the mother that you deserve, and a better mother than I was the day before. I will not always succeed. But please know that I have met this challenge with all that is within me. And as long as I breathe, I will never stop trying.
The other day, PopPop reminded me that I won’t always be breathing. He was challenging me to let go a little, trust my parenting and trust you. In the process, he reminded me of why I work so hard at being your mom everyday. When I am gone, you must know that you have everything you will ever need to succeed inside of you. You must love yourself as fiercely and unapologetically as I have loved you. You deserve nothing less.
Three thousand, six hundred, fifty days together. None taken for granted. Each a gift. The next always happier than the last.
Happy Birthday, Mars. I love you.