When You Said The Words "I Do"
November 18, 2014
Dear Mom and Mamma,
You are my rock and my center. You are the ones that help me keep everything in perspective. I want to defend you with everything I have, just like you have defended me from the beginning. You are the most amazing people and I want to tell the world. I want to scream it from the rooftops and yell down the canyons. People say we aren’t a family, but we are such an amazing family.
You never gave up on me. From the beginning when the doctor told you that if I lived at all I would have severe cerebral palsy, you believed in me. You lived in that hospital for those two weeks and you helped me prove those doctors wrong.
Starting from when you first brought me home from the hospital, you responded to my request: “Massage, Mamma?” with a backrub before I fell asleep every night and you sang the song, ‘How Could Anyone’ by Libby Roderick. I still listen to it when I am feeling lonely.
You put up with all of my 5am mornings of “Let’s play! Let’s play!” when I was little.
You made my lunch for me every day, and I would wake to your songs about how peanut butter and jelly go well together.
Throughout my childhood, we went on so many walks through the woods, and you taught me to love nature. I spent hours in our backyard playing in the tree fort my brother and I created.
You drove me to countless soccer practices and soccer tournaments in Charlotte, swim meets, school plays, Debate tournaments. You were my number one fan. I can still hear your whistle echoing in my head.
Every Sunday morning I would climb into your bed right between the two of you and we would read the comics section and you would explain the jokes to me. We read Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Sherman’s Lagoon, Denis the Menace, and Garfield.
You introduced me to ‘Cats’ the movie and then sat with me as I fell in love with all of the cats. We sang along to all of the songs and danced to all of the musical numbers. You made me the best Mr. Mistoffelees Cat costume for Halloween.
Every Sunday, we watched football together and your favorite teams became my favorite teams. Go Patriots!
Every Friday was “Friday night, movie night.” Little Caesars Pizza along with a movie that you thought sounded interesting. So why not try it? Usually you were right.
You would always read me a book before going to bed and usually give in to my begging of just one more chapter. We progressed from Blueberries for Sal to Childhood of Famous Americans books about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Elizabeth Blackwell to Little Women. We read stories about strong powerful women who challenged the status quo and lived their lives the way they wanted. I had all of these examples of powerful women, but more importantly I had two examples that I lived with. You taught me how to be a strong, confident, caring, powerful woman.
When I received a concussion my freshman year of college you flew home from your trip in the Caribbean, your first trip after both of your kids left the house and came to get me. When you walked through the door, I knew everything was going to be okay.
You were there for me. Forever and always. You are still there for me when I call you crying because I am still battling this concussion a year later. You are always there to just listen, and to help me through all of my struggles.
I remember the time you told me the reason you two didn’t walk down the street holding hands; why you chose the specific neighborhood we currently live in and the school you chose to send my brother and me to. That was when my perfect world burst and my eyes opened. You tried to shield me from the cruelties of the world. But I realize now how innocent I was; how much you had protected me and fought for me through my childhood. But now my eyes are fully open and it is time for me to protect you and fight for you.
When North Carolina put an Amendment on the ballot in 2012 telling me that my family was not a “real” family, I fought so hard for you. “They don’t know us!” I yelled, “How can they judge people whom they don’t even know!” When I fought back with an Anti-Amendment One club at my high school and the administration told me I couldn’t have such a political club, you fought for me. When my friends stopped talking to me when I started talking about my family, you were there to support me.
When the Amendment passed, you told me that one day the state would consider us a family. And you were right. I got to be a witness on the day you two legally married, and it was the most beautiful ceremony I have ever seen because even though we only had a notary facilitate, when you two said the words I ‘do’, I heard the words, we are. We are strong; we are an incredible family. But we didn’t need the state to validate our family. Because we have always been and will always be an amazing family.