Continuing on in my Month of Thanks, here is my letter for October 13th.
To My Parents,
From a very young age, I have memories of being read to by my mother. Interview with the Vampire and Fred Saberhagen’s Swords books colored my childhood, and doubtless informed my reading tastes later on. My oldest child is now the same age I was when you gave me Flowers in the Attic.
I’m still not sure that was wise parenting. ;)
Less obvious than this influence are my memories of late nights, catching you bent over the keyboard of our first personal computer. I remember quite clearly hearing you say that when you bought it, you had to choose between word processing or games (it was the 80s, after all). It never bothered me too much (I doubt my brother could say the same), but I didn’t understand then why that choice was so important to you.
You see, you were a writer at heart, and I get it now. You tucked your stories away on floppy disks as big as my face, occasionally printing out reams of paper: manuscripts to mail to editors or agents. It was my first experience with the world of publishing, and it wasn’t pretty. You spent years working at that, in between raising two children mostly on your own, going to college full time, working as many hours as you could at the convenience store. Long before I started my own journey as a writer, I knew exactly what expectations I should have: none.
Because of these expectations, I learned that if I was going to do it, it had to be an act of love. It had to be for me, because the odds were that most of my words would go unread by the public at large. Yes, sharing those words are important, but that isn’t what drives us. We don’t have a choice. It’s what we do. We can’t not write.
I don’t think this was an intentional lesson on your part. It wasn’t a conscious decision to show me what a writer does. Along with “mystery can night” and painting the rooms of our house every pastel shade you could, it was simply who you were. You didn’t make apologies for it. In fact, I’m pretty sure one of your favorite things to tell me was “go eat worms.” Harsh, man. :)
When you remarried, it was to a man that might have actually been made just for you. Your weird quirks and passions overlap in more ways than I probably know (no, don’t elaborate). Mr. Christopher took both my brother and me under his wing without a second thought. It was never, ever uncomfortable or strange or anything you’d expect when dealing with a new stepparent. He is kind, supportive, loving, loyal (sometimes to a fault), and always, always giving. I am thankful to have both of you in my life and can’t imagine how different I would be without the influences and advice both of you have given me over the last 15 years.
Like all families, we’ve had some issues in the past, after all, no one’s perfect (least of all me), but there’s not been a moment I didn’t feel loved or protected. I’ve always known that if things got bad for me (and they have, more than once), you would be there to help me pick up the pieces, or at least give me the kick in the pants I needed to start the process.
Really, I could spend a year thinking of all the things I should thank you for. Thank you for raising me in the best geeky environment a geeky kid could hope for. Thank you for being proud of me. Thank you for encouraging me in everything I have ever tried to do. Thank you for everything that I am and everything I’m not and everything I hope to be someday.
Thank you for loving me always.