Dear Mom and Dad,
Thank you. Until I became a parent, I took you for granted. I never realized how many nights you stayed up late with a colicky baby, praying she would finally sleep. I never realized how you learned the hard way not to feed chili to a not yet potty-trained toddler. And I never realized that the first day of school, you cried when I went into the classroom.
I didn't realize that when I talked smack to you that you had the patience and wisdom to ground me instead of escalating the situation by trying to compete in a war of words with a mouthy preteen.
I didn't realize that you stayed up late on weekend nights, waiting for a teenager who had no sense of time, despite her million watches. Because there were no cell phones, you had no way of knowing what had happened when I missed curfew. Did I get into an accident? Run out of gas? Lose track of time? Or worse?
I didn't realize that when I moved away from home as a young adult, that you were sending your baby out into the world, even though you may not have been ready to let me go. And I didn't realize that you were always there waiting to catch me when I fell. Or even when I just missed my footing and needed a hand.
But mostly I didn't realize what incredibly awesome parents you were when I was growing up. And how incredibly awesome you are still today. Thank you.
Laurie Sontag is a California newspaper columnist who also writes the blog Manic Motherhood. You can find her on Facebook and sometimes Twitter. But mainly she's hiding out in the living room trying to avoid cleaning the house.