How often do we thank our parents for what they have done for us, and for what they are still doing to help and support us when we need it?
Aside from Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when do we bother to express to them, through words or gestures, our gratitude and thankfulness?
By the way, did you know that the words “thank” and “think” have the same etymological roots? In old English, “thank you” used to mean “I will remember what you have done for me.”
So yes, our treasured Thanksgiving Day, which originated when the first American colonists started to pray and thank God for good harvests, military victories and other great blessings, is literally a moment of both gratefulness and remembrance.
You’d like to say thanks to your parents and tell them that you have not forgotten what they have done for you, but you can’t seem to find the words? Here are a few simple heart-woven suggestions:
Dear Mom, Dear Dad:
When I had my good moments and successes, you were there to congratulate me, share in my joy, and give me a high-five. I also had my lows and setbacks, and you were there too, to comfort me, lend me a sympathetic ear, wipe away my tears, and put me back on my feet. I will never forget this. Never.
You probably won’t believe this, but the fairy tales you told me after tucking me in bed when I was a kid, the lullabies you sang to me to help me fall asleep, the bear hugs and forehead kisses you so tenderly gave me…my heart still remembers them, all of them. And it says thank you.
All the lunches you packed for me when I was a kid, the endless homework you helped me with, the mess I steadily made in the house and which you cleaned over and over again—how would I have managed without you? I wouldn’t have.
Of course, there is no way I’ll ever know everything you’ve done for me since the day you brought me into the world, but I know, and will always remember, that it is worth my eternal gratitude.
I have tried to count—in vain, because there are too many—the number of sacrifices you have made to bring me up, of headaches and worries I have caused you, of little ploys and schemes I have used to wrongfully mislead you. Gee, am I thankful you did not return blow for blow!
Thank you for all those road trips, adventures, little voyages and magical mystery tours we went on together; for taking me to all those exciting places, uncharted territories, supernatural cities, islands and countrysides.
I have been a bawling baby, a mischievous kid, and a cranky, rebellious teenager. Thank God you’ve been my parents, or else what a hopeless adult I might have turned into!
Thank you for making me laugh when I most needed it, for laughing at most of my crummy jokes, for making fun of me when I deserved it.
For being my biggest supporter every time you attended the games I played at school, the banal plays and concerts I tried to perform in, the so-called exhibitions where my hopeless artwork was displayed, the wonderful puppet shows I improvised in the kitchen, thank you so much!
Thank you for teaching me, patiently, how to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, day and night, light and darkness, void and fullness.
I’m so grateful that you’ve always stood behind me, supported my dreams, championed my projects, encouraged my pursuits, gone along with my interests, and guided me in the right direction.
Thank you so much for the wings you have given me, for having taught me how to soar up into the sky, expand my horizons and brush against the heavens.
Thank you for being the best thing that has ever happened to me since the day I was born.
Thanks a billion, dear Mom and Dad, for giving me the most beautiful gift of all: the gift of life.
And now you feel inspired, but your heart is sinking a little as you think to yourself:
“I haven’t said thanks to my parents often enough. I can’t even remember the last time I did it…”
How about expressing your gratitude to them via a letter? Phone calls, emails or text messages can do the trick too, at least partially. But nothing will touch the heart of your loved ones like a nice long letter—worded and crafted with care and affection.
Author: Anita Licis-Ribak
Editor: Catherine Monkman