Mama in the early 1950s in Palm Beach, FL
Her lovely sliver leaf bracelet now belongs to her great-granddaughter!

Dear Mama,

Today would be your 101st birthday. Sadly, you left us just shy of your 78th birthday, your mind taken over by that cruel dementia.

When I was cleaning out our family home a year or so after Daddy passed at 91, I found a list of 50 “thank yous” I wrote to you for one of your birthdays. I don’t recall which birthday it was, but I know I was married with one child and living in SC when I wrote it. I brought that list back home with me after closing up the house and handing over to its new owners, and today I share it with you again.

Thank You For…
1. Giving me life.
2. Taking me to church.
3. Providing me with a spiritual foundation.
4. Making a beanbag frog.
5. Helping me with homework, year after year.
6. Helping me write my winning essay, “What Mayodan Needs Most.”
7. Buying my first pair of earrings at Thalhimers.
8. Taking me to lunch at Kress and Woolworth’s all those years.
9. Making my class’s Valentine’s box in fourth grade.
10. Playing dodgeball with my friends and me.
11. Going with my sixth grade class to Morehead Planetarium.
12. Giving me your Estee Lauder free kits when you bought makeup.
13. Feeding me potato soup and 7-Up when I was sick.
14. Working out the details for my college scholarship.
15. Helping me construct a Garden of Eden in Sunday School.
16. Buying my boys clothes.
17. All the fun we had on family vacations.
18. Helping me memorize scripture for my String of Pearls.
19. Working so hard to help provide for our family.
20. Attending years of PTA meetings.
21. Writing me every Sunday night from my first day of college.
22. Coming to stay with me after each baby was born.
23.Letting me get a guitar (which I never played!) with your Green Stamps.
24. Paying for six years of piano lessons.
25. Giving me your class ring.
26. Donating 5 Gideon Bibles in my honor.
27. Taking me trick or treating and to Halloween carnivals.
28. Taking me to see The Osmonds twice.
29. Giving me a UNC-G plaque when I finished college.
30. Buying me clothes for 30+ years.
31. Trusting me as I was growing up.
32. Making provisions for me at attend day camp, Bible school, etc.
33. Sending money.
34. Letting me have slumber parties.
35. Hosting my first grade class’s wiener roast.
36. Being so kind to my friends (like baking a pie for Charlie Lederer).
37. Loving my boys so much.
38. Lovingly accepting Russ as your son-in-law.
39. Your telephone calls.
40. All the meals you’ve cooked over the years.
41. Keeping me updated on hometown news.
42. Naming me Amy Maureen instead of Mitzi Renee.
43. Taking my family to your 50th high school reunion.
44. Your prayers.
45. Framing my baptismal dress.
46. Keeping Jamie for two weeks in the summer.
47. Letting me have pets.
48. Allowing me to take friends on vacation.
49. Being you!
50. Loving me so much.

Mama, I could add SO much to this now. One day I’ll write more about you, as well as an overdue apology for some of the struggles I’ve had that stemmed from some of your choices and the sadness I have felt over some parts of your life.

I will always love you.



Amy Walton is a multi-certified life coach and yogini who currently lives in coastal Virginia. She’s outgrown her love for The Osmonds, can now play a few chords on the guitar, and owes much of her own parenting to her late mother. Connect with her at