A Letter to my Mom

Yesterday, I went to a Mother’s Day event at my son’s preschool. Complete with table cloths, music, muffins, strawberries, and 4-year olds, it was a lovely morning.  Paxton proudly unwrapped my present for me, presenting me with a cut out of his handprint. Despite fun mornings like this, Mother’s Day always brings mixed emotions for me.

My sister wrote a letter to moms last year, and this year it’s my turn.  I have an incredible stepmom and a wonderful mother-in-law, but this letter is for my mom, Alice, who passed away when I was 17. I can’t give her my handprint, but I offer this tribute instead. If you have a mom, had a mom, or if you are a mom, this letter is for you too.


Dear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day! Now that I’m a mom, I’m more aware and appreciative of all you did for me.

Thank you for enduring a difficult pregnancy. Thank you for being faithful in your bed-rest, and thank you for weathering a traumatic delivery. Thank you for thinking of my needs before your own before I was even born.

Thank you for rocking me to sleep, for placing me gently in my crib each night, for praying over me. Thank you for changing every diaper. Thank you for buying me Rainbow Bright coloring books. For encouraging me to be imaginative. For biscuits and gravy on my birthday. Thank you for warm soup on cold nights. For tackling relentless stacks of dishes and laundry. Thank you for completing mundane tasks so we could focus on exciting adventures.

Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for putting down your projects so you could listen to me. Thank you for constantly giving me eye contact and attention. Thank you for knowing the names of my friends and for loving them too. Thank you for creating meaningful traditions. For spontaneously breaking me out of school for chocolate ice cream. Thank you for taking me to Coco’s after Church every week and for teaching me faithfulness. Thank you for buying me that book by Cindy Crawford, using something I loved (books) to teach me about something I didn’t (makeup). Thank you for letting down your hair, for using silly voices, for correcting me in a loving way. Thank you for disciplining me when it would have been easier not to. Thank you for reading parenting books, for always trying to be the best version of yourself.

Thank you. Thank you for not giving up: I know you wanted to at some points. Before becoming a mom, I never realized how hard it was.  How hard it is to see your kids behaving in ways  that you don’t want them to. How hard it is to keep the house clean and the kids fed. Thank you for laughing when you felt like crying. And Mom, thank you for loving me. I never realized how intense mother-love is! Love that feels heavy in your chest; love that worries: love that can hurt. Thank you.

I love you, Mom. I’m sorry I didn’t say it enough when you were still around. I love you for all you did. I love you for who you were. I forgive you for all you didn’t do, and I forgive you for who you couldn’t be. Thank you for teaching me how to live, and thank you for teaching me how to love. May I be to my kids even half of what you are to me. Happy Mother’s Day.



An Unconventional Form of Service

I miss my mom. In her honor, I issue this charge: this Mother’s Day, let’s make honoring our moms an intentional act of service. Are you doing something special for your mom this Mother’s Day? Is there something that you’d like to thank her for? If you have ideas on how to honor moms this Sunday, please share, and if you’d like daily ideas on sharing kindness, follow us on Instagram. Also, if you are interested, click here to start a Family Service Club of your own. Thanks for reading, and let’s go love others (including our moms) on purpose.


About Kellie Van Atta

Kellie Van Atta is a wife, a mom of two, and a teacher of English. She lives in Southern California and is passionately dedicated to teaching her kids to love others.

3 comments on “A Letter to my Mom

  1. Kellie,

    This is beautiful and so are you. It’s so special when we get the chance to reflect on the past with mom, like a little movie montage in our heads filled with warm fuzziness. We’ve been so blessed. Thanks for the reminder.

    I love you!

  2. Dear Kellie,
    You have such a sweet and loving spirit, and your letter to your mom is evidence of that! I know you miss her daily, and I am confident she is looking over you with love. We are so thankful that you are a part of our family!! With both our love, Eydee and Bob

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