Dear Mom,

These are the things that I want to thank you for

Thank you for giving birth to me

For feeding me

For giving me clothes

And toys

And my own bedroom

For the horseback riding lessons, swim lessons, dance classes, and ski lift passes

For supporting me through school and sending me abroad

I thank you


Dear Mom,

These are the things for which I do not thank you

For lying to me about my father

That he was an alcoholic

That he stole money from you

That he didn't want me

That he didn't care about me

That the only thing I would ever get from him was money

That he was going to get AIDS from his new girlfriend

That even though he married her she was still a tramp

For telling me that you didn't care if he died

For making me avoid family functions, alienate my relatives, refuse to hug him or speak to her

For ten years

I do not thank you


Dear Mom,

I do not thank you

For caring more about what the neighbors thought of you than what your children thought of you

For manipulating me and using my love for you against me

For never apologizing even when you knew you were wrong

For never telling me what you wanted

But expecting me to know anyway

And then punishing me when I didn't

And punishing me when I asked why

And punishing me when I cried


I do not thank you

For not speaking to me for three weeks after the tarot cards told you I was pregnant

I wasn't


I do not thank you

For teaching me that yelling was the only way to win an argument

But you were the only one allowed to yell

For teaching me that the silent treatment was better than actually telling me what I did wrong.

And for making me fear authority figures

And making me fear women

And making me fear voicing my wants or even my needs

To anyone


Because being deprived and abused is far better than what would happen if I spoke up

Because you taught me fear

You never allowed me to defend myself

You punished me more when I tried

You taught me it was better to curl up and cry

Than to fight

I do not thank you

For teaching me to be passive

Not to defend myself


I do not thank you for that night

When he led me into a dark place

And I said, "No,"

But he didn't listen

And I was too afraid to do anything

Except submit to violence


I remember coming home that night

I stood in our hallway and looked down into your bedroom

Where you were sleeping

I knew that if I woke you up

Told you what happened

You'd say it was all my fault

That I had it coming

So instead of calling the police, I went to bed


I used to dream about it every night.



Dear Mom,

I do not thank you

For telling people I'd been kidnapped

Or run away from home

When all I did was move out of your house after college

I do not thank you

For criticizing every decision I made in my adult life

Like buying health insurance

Like going to graduate school


I do not thank you

For standing next to the casket of my grandmother

And telling anyone who would listen

How horrible she was

How you did everything for her without thanks

How she never appreciated you

But she loved me

And somehow, that was wrong

I do not thank you


Dear Mom,

I do not thank you

For the emails that make me cry

The ones that you sign with your first name

For the messages you leave on my voicemail

Full of nice words but angry meaning

For calling me last week, late at night

Telling me that you were never speaking to me again

Telling me that you weren't coming to my wedding

Telling me that I'm a horrible, ungrateful daughter

Telling me that I should be ashamed of myself

But not telling me




Dear Mom,

I'm getting married

In two weeks

Thank you

For staying