Dear Mom and Dad

Melissa Jensen
2726 days ago.

A letter to my parents My sister and I grew up for many years thinking that desserts were sold in the cereal isle of the grocery store.  Lucky Charms, Fruit Loops, and Captain Crunch were not meant to be eaten as breakfast.  McDonald’s only offered milk with their Happy Meal. In fact, all restaurants only sold milk to children as their beverage…not chocolate milk but plain, white, room temperature restaurant milk.  I believed it was normal for children to start doing dishes by hand when they were strong enough to pull a chair up to the sink and 5th grade was the proper age to start doing all of my own laundry. Sugar in our home was all but banned, vegetables were served and eaten (even if it took all night) with every dinner and fine cuisine came mostly out of boxes. Dad, you taught me that car horns and smoke detectors were great alarm clocks for children, a ride to school was still a ride to school even if it meant dropping me off 5 blocks from the school so it wasn’t out of your way.  Mom, you were a terrible cook. I know you are much better now, and honestly I didn’t really notice when I was a kid. These things you know. We laugh about them at holidays and other gatherings, but there is more you should know. Quite frankly you are not getting any younger and I don’t want to wait to tell you.

Thank you.

Thank you for making me do dishes and laundry and clean the bathroom.  Thank you for making me eat my vegetables and giving me a strict curfew. Thank you for not allowing me to do things just because the other kids could. Thank you for making me wear hand-me-downs and not teaching me to shop recreationally. Thank you for teaching me respect (even though dad still thinks I have a ways to go).  Thank you dad for making me listen to talk radio and passing down an interest in politics (you may regret that one based on the way I vote). Thank you mom for exposing me to the arts and other cultures and constantly driving us to St. Louis for anything and everything. You didn’t allow living in a small town to make us small-minded.  Thank you for reading to me and forcing me to try new things.  Thank you both for not keeping too close an eye on us when you took us with you to work.  Some of my favorite memories are building sand castles in the long jump pit and wandering around the hospital lab.  Thank you for letting us get dirty and making me come home on time. Thank you for the strict rules when I was young and for allowing me to make my own mistakes when I got older.

I love you both and I am proud to have both of you as my parents. There is no one else I would choose. I appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices that I didn’t see as a child. I understand the hard decisions that I couldn’t then.




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Melissa Jensen

Melissa is a native of the Greater St. Louis region. She is addicted to anything Google, and cannot understand why motion activated paper towel dispensers never see her hands.

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