I know you must be on the edge of your seats after reading a title like that, but I knew I had to get your attention somehow. You see, for the past few weeks since we’ve been on a stay-at-home order, I’ve been hearing you say things to me like “if it’s not too much trouble” and “don’t go out of your way,” and it baffles me every time. If you think my helping you is any kind of burden, imagine all the times I should have apologized for bothering you.
I’m sorry that as a baby, I woke up every hour at night. You must have been so exhausted when trying to function the next day.
I’m sorry you spent so much time in the kitchen cooking my favorite foods, and that when I decided to stop eating meat at 12 years old, you had to start making two different meals.
I didn’t mean to cause you trouble when you stood in line for hours in a crazy crowd just to buy me a Cabbage Patch Kid — so I wouldn’t be the only one without one.
I’m sorry about all the years you sat in sweltering heat on the sidelines of softball fields so I could play the game I loved. And I apologize about all of the grass stains you must have had to scrub out of my uniform.
I’m sorry that when my teenage friends came over every weekend, we took up your whole kitchen table playing games and drinking soda and laughing at inside jokes while you had no clue what we were talking about. I can’t imagine how sticky the floor must have been when we were finished.
I’m sorry that on every Thanksgiving morning for so many years, you woke up at the crack of dawn to put a turkey in the oven and start cooking, while I woke up just in time to watch the Macy’s parade. I know how many times you would have liked to watch it with me but instead you continued to slave until it was time to eat.
I’m sorry that when I became a mom, I called on you to drop everything any time I needed help. Whether you were bringing me Pedia Pops when my babies were sick or taking my kids to your house when I was sick, there was never a time I questioned that you’d be there.
I’m sorry for the times when my entire family moved back in with you — not once, but twice — when we were between houses. An adult daughter, her husband, their three kids and a dog must have rocked your quiet little world quite a bit.
I’m sorry if I’ve put you out any time throughout my life when I’ve called or texted you without hesitation. Sometimes for advice, sometimes just for an ear to listen, and sometimes just to hear the comforting voices that I’ve known since day one.
I know what you’re thinking as you read this: “You don’t have to apologize for those things…we enjoyed it all.” If that’s the case, I need you to do me a favor. Every time you feel that you’re being an inconvenience, please realize that I want to bring just as much joy to you as you’ve brought to me. I will never be able to repay you for the sacrifices you’ve made as my parents, but the very least you can do is let me try to give you a fraction of the help that you’ve given me.
When you’re hungry and don’t feel like cooking, ask me to pick up something that sounds good. When you’re too tired to mow grass, let me send my big strong boys to mow it. When you know it’s safest for your health to stay away from stores, text me a list of groceries you need. When you’ve woken up at the crack of dawn on Thanksgiving for enough years in a row, be okay with passing the torch to me — and then watch the parade until it’s time to come to my house.
I could not have made it to where I am without your favors and lessons, but now I need you to teach me one more thing. One day, I will be in your position, and my kids are going to want to do the same things for me that I want to do for you. I need you to show me, just as your parents did when they were your age, that it’s okay to let it happen. I want you to take time now to enjoy each other, to comprehend that you’ve built a wonderful family who loves you, and to let yourself be taken care of the same way you’ve taken care of so many others. That way when it’s my turn, I can sit back, pour some wine, and raise a glass to you and all the generations before you who were willing to do the same.