Dear Mama - Thank You
For my mother, Judy Halpin, who I love with all my heart
In honour of Mother’s Day, I want to say “Thank You”.
Thank you for never raising your hand to discipline me. Your “Scary Mama Stare” was enough to stop me in my tracks. After the stare came the explanation as to why my behaviour was not acceptable; firm but always kind.
Thank you for smiling when I wrote my name in huge capital letters on the wall when I was six years old and I told you that “the baby did it”.
Thank you for encouraging me to play with the little girls who were visiting our neighbours when I was eight years old. For seeing that I was nervous about asking them if I could join their game. For asking if I had a lump in my throat. For explaining that the lump would disappear when I went up to the girls and said “Hello, what’s your name?”
Thank you for asking “How was school today?” For the memories of us sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a glass of milk; my legs dangling off the chair whilst I recalled my day’s adventures.
Thank you for believing me. When I punched that boy at school who called my brother a horrible name, you understood my intentions. For explaining I must not fight with my fists but instead fight with my voice and always stand up for what is right.
Thank you for saying it was okay to be shy sometimes. That it was okay to be quiet. That when I wanted to speak, my voice was as important as everyone else's.
Thank you for standing up for me. When the principal at school made unfair comments about my dedication to my work in front of others and I felt embarrassed and upset, you drove to school and demanded to speak to him. You did not shout hysterically or lose your temper. You articulated your points with intelligence and dignity. Mama Bear schooled the school teacher.
Thank you for the glass of warm milk you gave me while I cried in bed when I was seventeen years old. For stroking my hair after my first love had broken my heart. For explaining that, in time, I would neither love nor hate him but wish him well.
Thank you for treating me and my brothers equally. For instilling in me the idea that I, as a female, can achieve as much as a male.
Thank you for letting me make mistakes. For allowing me to fail. For being there afterwards to help learn from my mistakes. For never judging me. For helping me realise that failing does not make me a failure.
Thank you for loving me when I did not love or like myself. For pulling me from the depths of despair and supporting me until I was capable of standing and supporting myself.
Thank you for loving my baby girl unconditionally. For being a wonderful Granny. For your advice and for never judging me as a new parent.
Thank you for always being my mother. Thank you for being my friend.
I love you, Mama. Happy Mother’s Day.
Irene Halpin Long is a stay-at-home parent to a beautiful little girl and an aspiring writer. She is currently working on a novel set in the Channel Islands and a children’s book set in Ireland. She is the author of two blogs: one for flash fiction at irenehalpinlong.com and on life as a parent over at hervoicefromthekitchenwindow.com.