When I was home for the holidays, my mother’s Wiccan friend Rebecca asked me to write something for my mother’s croning ceremony, celebrating the accumulated wisdom of her six decades as a woman. The first thing that came to mind was the little note mom always put in the school lunches she packed for me. Sometimes she’d draw silly pictures meant to make me smile; other times she’d write sweet poems to make me feel special; at least once she used the letters of my name to spell out my good qualities. As I think about those notes now, I realize they were like little love letters.

There are a million reasons why Marilyn is the best mom ever: She refused to take painkillers for a problem she had with her shoulder when she was pregnant with me, because she was concerned they would harm me. She baked really cool birthday cakes in the shape of bears and spaceships and other things for my brothers. As a child discovering who I was, mom supported me in everything I tried or said I wanted to be. She still does that now, with all of her family: She’s made dad’s dreams of flying an ultralight plane and driving a race car come true. She’s also the glue that holds our immediate and extended family together and keeps us all in touch. I think as she’s grown older (and wiser) and as us kids have left the nest, mom has learned to take time and do things for herself, too; but mostly, I think she’s still happiest when she’s taking care of her family and close friends.

As I got older and mom continued putting notes in my lunches, I started to feel a little embarrassed by themnone of the other kids still got notes from their mom in their lunch. Then one day, when I was having a really bad day at school, I sat down for lunch and held my breath before I opened my lunch bag, hopingdespite whatever embarrassment I might feelthat mom had written me a note, and that her words would cheer me up, as they always did. Inside my lunch that day was a note so thoughtful, kind-hearted and loving that it brought tears to my eyes, which I of course tried to hide. I realized then that mom still writing me notes wasn’t embarrassingthat actually, I was incredibly lucky to be her child and to be so loved. And as the years have passed, that realization has only deepened. I am incredibly luckyand blessed, and happy, and proudto be my mom’s daughter.

This is one, undated, lunch-bag poem, by Marilyn Prickett:

“Your hair is light brown,
Your eyes are hazel.
Your freckles give you a frown,
But your teeth sure dazzle.
Your body is strong,
And your mind inquisitive.
Your legs are long,
My love for you is positive!”