Dear Ms. Bear…
Well, today is a pretty big day. Today is your 36th wedding anniversary, and yes, even though I wasn’t a guest at said wedding, it still boggles my mind that it’s been this long. Now, I know you all too well. You’re going to put on a brave, big-girl face today and say that you’re “just fine” and go on and on about how it’s just another day and question the point in getting all worked upped over it. And, knowing myself all too well, I’ll surely be able to see right through it. Why? Because whether you want to admit it or not, today matters. It matters a lot, and it got me thinking: I owe you a giant thank you.
Thank you for being the first example I ever see of how a marriage should work. You and father, despite all everything you went through, knew what was most important and you both held onto it for dear life. Life may have whipped your sails around, but you two remained ever-grounded to each other. I used to notice the way father would look at you, like he was looking at his whole world, and I instinctively that’s how love should be.
Thank you for teaching me to never — under any circumstances — compromise. You loved being a wife, sure, but you didn’t change yourself in the process. You made being a wife a part of you rather than your whole identity. No one is worth it if they don’t want you for who you are, and I’d be happier single and myself versus in a relationship and not even recognizing myself in the mirror.
Thank you for teaching me that, sadly, sometimes love doesn’t go the way we want it to. I’m sorry this is something I learned from you, but I saw your fairytale veer off track so quickly and without warning. And guess what, Ms. Bear? It’s OK to think that it’s utterly unfair because, really, it is. It’s such an injustice, especially after all you’ve been though. But, thank you for teaching me what true strength really is. I hope you know that I’m thankful for that every single day.
Sometimes I think that a simple “thank you” will never be sufficient, that it could never accurately capture everything you and father taught me about love, but it’s a start. And I also hope you know that I’m here for you every single day. You don’t always have to be so strong. After all, you’re the one who taught me the beauty in being vulnerable. Don’t you think it’s about time that you took your own advice? I love you, Ms. Bear, and happy anniversary… xoxo