A Letter To My Mother – Happy Mother’s Day

May 4, 2013
Saturday, 9:22 PM

I’m a week early, but it’s better to be a week early than a week late…

Dear Mother,

It was a cold day on December 10, 1977 in Somerset, Pennsylvania.  The maximum temperature was 13 degrees fahrenheit, with a low temperature of 2 degrees.  I looked it up online.  They keep record of these sorts of things if you can believe it.  Anyone can look it up if they’re curious, and well, you know that your son has a curious mind for things that most people don’t care to know about, so I looked it up.

I was born on a Saturday morning at 9:45 AM, just a few weeks before Christmas, which is why you and Dad settled on the name Christopher.  I don’t know where the Paul came from.  I never thought to ask before, but I think it was because you and Dad liked the biblical character, Paul.  I looked up the meaning of the name, and the name Paul means “small” or “humble.”

I came into this world weighing 7 pounds and 10 ounces, and measured 20 1/2 inches in length.  Having your ass smacked by the nurse and being covered in all that goop is a pretty humble beginning for any child, so I guess the name was suitable for your early Christmas present.  Christopher Paul was born.

Birth Certificate

Pictured are your newborn son’s foot prints in black ink, and right below them are your thumbprints marked with the same black ink.  When the nurse took my feet to the ink pad –  most likely kicking and screaming, and hopefully taking a whizz all over her – there was no telling where those tiny feet would end up some 35 years later.

Would your son become a teacher?   Would he become a missionary?   Would he get into trouble and spend half his life rotting away in jail?

Would your son get married?   Would he have kids someday?  Would he be content to remain single just like the character Paul did in the Bible?

Would your son be healthy?  Would there be complications from birth?  Or heavens forbid, would your son pass away and leave this Earth far too early?

These are the questions that a mother never knows when she decides to have a child, but she swipes her thumbs along the ink pad and presses them firmly to the paper with a lot of uncertainties and no guarantees for her son’s future, other than the guarantee that she will try to love him as best she can.  But even that is something that you can’t predict no matter a mother’s best intentions from the beginning.  So you were left with a lot of questions and worries about your newborn son on that cold, winter day in December.

5 Year Old Hands

Pictured is a photocopy of your son’s hands when I was five.  They’re chubby, little hands smushed against the glass.

There were some answers to be had by the time I was five.  You knew that I was kind and had a tender heart.  I made you many colorful drawings of flowers and birds with the words scribbled in crayon “I love you.”  You knew that I embodied a creative soul and enjoyed making art with crayons, pencils, pens, markers, finger paint and anything that my little, chubby, five year old hands could get a hold of.

You knew that I had an inquisitive mind and enjoyed reading books and looking things up in the Encyclopedia, but I also enjoyed making up my own stories a lot of the times.  You knew that I was a people person, but you also knew that I had a very independent spirit.  Many times I left to go explore the great wide open, wearing nothing but underwear and a pair of Moon Boots as I went trouncing off into the backwoods by myself for the day.

You knew that I was a bundle full of energy, hated taking naps, didn’t mind eating vegetables, and was a real pain in the ass sometimes, to the point that I almost drove you literally insane, with much help from my other siblings, of course.

You had a sense of who I was, but still, there were a lot of questions left unanswered about your son’s future, and the worrying from a mother continued.

35 Year Old Hands

Pictured is a scan of your son’s hands taken just a few days ago at the age of 35.  Those little, chubby hands grew and grew and grew, and they became too big to fit on the glass anymore, so that’s why parts of them are cut off.

A lot of questions about your son have been answered over the years.   Your son got a job working in the film industry through a lot of hard work and a little luck.  I’ve never been married and have no kids.  I’ve been blessed with good health so far.  I prefer a simple life, have no television, coffee maker, toaster oven, and live in a small apartment in Pittsburgh.  I enjoy cutting up, entertaining others, but I can also hold a serious conversation with the best of them.  Your son is happy with his life for the most part.  But still, there are a lot of questions left unanswered for a mother.

When I was born, you knew that there would always be questions and worrying, but you made your thumbprints on the paper anyhow, claiming me as your son.   You were committed from that day forward despite the many uncertainties that life throws at a person, for better or for worse.

I don’t know where my hands and feet will take me the remaining years on this planet.  Somedays I dream big, and somedays I’m content to do absolutely nothing at all.  Somedays I think it would be nice to be married, and somedays I prefer to be left alone.  Somedays I think about moving to a new town, and somedays I want to live in Pittsburgh forever.  These hands and feet seem to have a mind of their own, so there’s no telling where they’ll end up one day.  I wish that I had the answers to ease your worrying mind, but that’s the part of life that I seem to thrive on best.  The unknown.

Really the only answer to any questions that I’ve ever needed was for someone to love me unconditionally and to support me when this curious mind gets him into trouble.  You’ve fielded many angry phone calls from principals, teachers, neighbors, parents, church ladies, police officers, park rangers, and from the college Dean.  I’ve gotten many scoldings and spankings as a child, but afterwards, you took the time to sit me down to explain how things in life are supposed to work, despite my resistance to want to know.

You knew my heart better than those fussy people who liked to point fingers and yell that your son was a problem child, when I was only being a curious boy.  You were patient and committed to your son, despite the many headaches having a curious boy can cause for a mother.

I wanted to leave you with something that my chubby hands created when I was six.  It’s a drawing of a flower that I colored with crayons on white construction paper.  It’s ripped and torn to pieces, but you taped it up, or somebody taped it up, and you saved it after all these years.  It must have been special for you, because when you gave me a box of keepsakes that you kept of mine over the years, including this one, you started crying.

I’m not a mother, so I can only guess as to what the crying fit was all about.  I just figured it’s because it must be difficult for a mother to come to the realization that her son is no longer made up of tiny feet and little smushed up hands on the photocopier glass.  A mother sits around at night when the house is empty, and wishes that she could still hold her son tight in her arms and kiss those tiny feet goodnight.  But time marches on, so maybe that’s what spurred on the tears that day – seeing your son all grown up in the kitchen that day.  I don’t know.  I didn’t think to ask you that either, because it made me uncomfortable to see you crying, and my feet just wanted to get going.

Mothers Day Card 1Mothers Day Card 2

Your small and humble son would just like to say thanks for always being there for me and loving me like only a mother can love her child.  I know that I’m handful.  I know that I’ve left you with more questions than probably most sons, but I guess my answer to all your questions would be this.  Even though I’ve grown to be a young man and those tiny feet are now a size 11, my heart is still the same as your tender five year old who enjoyed making you drawings of flowers and birds.  It doesn’t matter where my hands and feet take me, as long as my tender heart is leading the way.  So try not to worry.  Try to put all the questions to rest.

Next time I see you, we’ll drink some Franzia boxed wine, and have a good laugh remembering all the old stories of how I almost drove you to the loony bin.  You deserve a medal, but a crumpled up flower will have to do.

Happy Mother’s Day.  I’m sorry that I forgot to wish you that last year.  I know that it hurt your feelings.  It was just a bad year for all of us in the family, so that’s why this year I wanted to make it up to you as best I can.  With a crumpled up flower from 1983.  Some lousy son I am.  HA!  Guess you’re stuck with me, hands and feet and all.

I love you,

Christopher Paul

96 thoughts on “A Letter To My Mother – Happy Mother’s Day

  1. Like it, as often it is happenned, over 300 letters I read it ‘in diagonale’ I had to come back, sometimes it is worthed to come back…:D, in résumé…like it!

    • Thanks! Blessings to you as well. I went to your blog, and it’s really interesting – warm, diverse, thoughtful. I’ll give it more of a read when I have some time. Cool, well happy Mother’s Day early to you as well.

  2. chris – i think this is a beauty. may you always explore your way through life in your moon boots and underwear as your path unfolds before you. your mother is a very lucky woman to call you her son. beth

    • Aw, thanks Beth! I miss those moon boots. I would wear them fall, winter, spring, and even during the hot summer. Underwear and moon boots. Maybe I’ll have to buy a pair on eBay for future explorations. Thanks for reading.

  3. my feet we’re still as I read, although i certainly enjoyed the walk through some of your life;my eyes embraced your sentiments and my hands offering you their 2-thumbs up.

      • Just one of my many talents, darling. And it can be one of yours too – all you have to do is type the HTML tags directly into the comment window and wordpress takes care of the rest!

    • Thanks! I’m on a tight budget until I get back to work, so I had to get creative. That’s nice to hear from another Mom that I did a good job. I hope your sons treat you well this Mother’s Day, but even if they forget, or don’t get you anything, that’s just the way men are sometimes. Forgetful and we don’t like to give nice gifts because it makes us uncomfortable. Being a Mom is a tough gig, so happy Mother’s Day from the Dimwit.

    • Aw, well sometimes the dimwit dingaling gets a little sentimental. I just wanted to do a nice one for my Mom since I tease her all the time. I’ll probably do a few more nice ones along the way, so I guess keep the tissues handy just incase. :)

  4. (wiping tear from my eye) … a beautiful gift to your mom… she’ll be proud to know that her little boy has become such a thoughtful, and sentimental man.

    • Thanks John! From one sentimental man to another. I get worried sometimes though, being single, because one day I’ll probably get stuck taking care of my Mom since most the other siblings have their own families to take care of. If you knew my Mom and how much I like my own space, then you would understand my concerns better. :) That probably sounds rotten, but of course I’ll take care of her one day if I’m not in jail for pulling some stupid, harmless stunt. I get in trouble for the dumbest things, ie: I was arrested once for suspected terrorism because I was out on a train bridge filming my friend so that he could have video footage to loop in the background of one of his music shows. I’ll probably tell the whole story one day, because it’s a typical story of the old dimwit. Means well, but gets in trouble.

      Anyway, sorry to ramble. Cheers to you and your Mom this Mother’s Day.

  5. Mother’s gift of life, her child ..and everything he does for her, no matter how silly or profound, she can relate and is proud for the effort. When, he will do something for others betterment, that would make her real proud :))

    • Hey, thanks! Very cool of you to say. I do try to help people out as much as possible. I just have an unusual way to go about it that sometimes gets me into trouble. Oh well. That’s just the way it goes, so I told my Mom to have some bail money saved up for the next time I get arrested. Cheers.

    • Oh no! Now when I go to K-Mart to buy my turtlenecks, I’ve got to pick you up depends, AA batteries, AND a box of tissues. Well, I have a forgetful mind, so it looks like I better make a list. XO

    • Aw, thanks! I’m sweet and sour, good and rotten. I guess we all are a mixture of all of that, so I like to show people all sides. But mostly I am sweet, and this letter is the real me. Well, thanks for the nice compliment. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • I know. Pulled a fast one on ya, and showed off my sweet side. It’s hard to go from jokes to serious, but I owed my Mom a nice one after all the grey hair I gave her over the years. She had to start dyeing her hair at age 30! Don’t tell her I said that, either. Cheers, my friend.

  6. I totally forgot it was a mother’s day today. You reminded me! Thank you! When I finished reading your post the only word I had was “awesome!”. I am a mom too, however I keep forgetting about it from this point of view. Will do something nice today! Thank you for reminding!

    • Hey, thanks! I’ll take awesome. Do something nice for yourself today, but then you get to do it all over again next Sunday, because Mother’s Day is March 12th. I was a week early, because I jipped my Mom last year, so wanted her to have a whole week to make sure that she knew she was special. Happy Mother’s Day to you! Celebrate in style.

  7. Beautiful! My bed slug is on the cusp of being a man and from the heart I have to say that being a Mum is the scariest most rewarding job on the planet, a job your mother has clearly done well. You brought a tear to my eye with your wonderful words. I am sure that your Mum is very proud of you. In the UK mothers day came and went with the Easter Bunny I wish your mum a happy mother’s day I am sure your letter will make it the happiest. Thank you for sharing x

    • And thanks for sharing your kind words. You sound really sweet, so I’m sure a lot of that has rubbed off on your boy. It’s nice to know there are a lot of good mothers out there, because most the times you only hear about the bad ones in the news (part of the reason I don’t watch TV.) Well, happy belated Mother’s Day to you!

  8. Lovely! You have the knack for writing both funny and heartfelt. Your mother should be proud, for at least this one!

    Three questions:

    Can I post this to my mother as well? I promise I will not change a word. She would probably wonder who this Chris is, but since she doesn’t speak English she won’t understand the difference.

    Why don’t you try sending this to the date page? ;-) I understand it is a bit tricky, since some women tend to over-emphasize the mother/son relation, but for the rest it is a sign of the way you treat women.

    Really 5 sisters? Have to admire your mental stability, or maybe that is why you write in a funny (and sometimes heartfelt) way.

    • Thanks! Yes, the 5 sisters (and 5 brothers) were quite the training manuel for life. Gave me lots of perspective on things because I was in the middle.

      Well, of course you can post this and do whatever you’d like to do with it. Keep it the same, change it around a little and claim it as yours. I posted it early so others could have some ideas of how to spoil their Moms too. So it’s all yours for the taking.

      I guess I could send this to a dating site, huh? Might have more success than the rejected dating profile about horses!

      Well thanks for reading and a happy Mother’s Day to your dear mother. Cheers.

    • Thanks! She did a great job. She raised 11 of us ornery kids. I’m sure you’ll do a great job too. Maybe there will be moments that you mess up, but Moms are allowed to mess up too. Just remember that, and don’t go too hard on yourself. I wish you well. Happy early Mother’s Day!

    • I know, right?! Sometimes I surprise myself, but I get all sentimental sometimes. I blame growing up with 5 sisters and having to listen to their teeny bopper music and hear them go on about vanilla lip gloss. It does a man good to be surrounded by women :) Thanks for the nice comment.

    • Ha! Well feel free to change it up however you see fit, and steal it for yours. You can even use my drawing if you’d like. I’ll erase the Chris H. and you can color your name in there. Thanks.

    • WAHHHHH, I know. I’m really just a sad sap when you get down to it. So maybe in my store to go along with Blow Me beenie propellor hats, I’ll design some handkerchiefs to dry your eyes. Mostly cause I just like that word: handkerchiefs. XOXO (I usually only throw out one X and one O, but I doubled it up for you.)

      • I don’t even understand the logic of “handkerchiefs”. The chiefs of hands? And what’s with the “ker”? Did they want to French it up to seem classy?

        That’s incredibly considered. Two more doubles, please followed by a Gin and tonic.

  9. Chris,
    Well, this one rocked my boat a little, I must say. I didn’t see this one coming. I actually read it last night before bed, but was in too much of an emotional daze to comment. Let’s just say I went to sleep being one very happy mama.

    You’re pretty insightful (and always have been) when it comes to the good things in life. You could be the meanest son-of-a-gun around (you had to be a bit of a fighter just to survive at the dinner table), and you could be the absolute most generous, giving person I’ve ever seen. And, that is still you, although I don’t very often see the angry side of you at all. Amazing how age and life experiences mellow us out, isn’t it?

    Handing over that box of “memories” was not easy. Why? Because I was so worried that you’d pitch the stuff. Each of those file folders (and boxes) that I’ve kept on all 11 of you kids contain the most treasured parts of my life — those times when I knew that every sleepless night, every crazy day, every minute of worry — was all worthwhile. That box of memories I handed over to you was like a final passage — my way of saying, “You’re not all mine anymore.” I guess you never were, but we mothers like to think our kids are all ours — even when they’re adults and well past the point of living on their own.

    Mother’s Day is kind of a weird day for me — a million and one mixed emotions. Mostly it’s a day of feeling “full”, though. A day of knowing that my life is as I dreamed it would be — surrounded by the love of my kids. And, now my grandkids.

    I do think about you every day — many, many times throughout each day. (Just ask the girls in the office how many times your name comes up in the course of a day.) Darn that thing called “worry”! You can go for weeks and weeks sometimes (most times) without ever saying a word and that’s when I worry. Heck, the blessing of this Dimwit Diary has been knowing you’re alive! I can peek in each say and see that you’ve been writing and I know you’re among the walking and talking and that makes me feel good!

    Chris, thanks so much for the acknowlegement of me as “your mother.” That is a gift no amount of money can buy. You’re right — guys don’t often express things like this to their moms so this entry will be printed off and saved as a “rare gem” and I will treasure it forever and ever.

    Now, get back to the funny writing — these tear jerkers are hard on my heart! Why not share the story of your mowing experiences with that most lovely lady biatch at the lake? I have to tell you — true confessions — I placed a few phone calls to her that you never knew about and she heard words that she’s probably never heard before. Any Italian mama will tell you, “Don’t mess with my kid!! EVER!!!”

    Love and thanks so very much for this Mother’s Day treasure,
    Mother
    PS Why in heaven’s name did you have to put in the part about worrying if you’ll have to take care of me in my old age? I’m all Steph and Roni’s — in one of Roni’s beer stupors he let the cat out of the bag. That’s why he’s getting a master’s in mental health training — in preparation for the days to come! So, rest easy and go get a wife! I think you’d make some gorgeous grandkids for me!

  10. I clicked Like button but I want to say I love this post. It is beautiful. And yes, as a bit sensitive as I am, I needed to hold my tears while reading yours and your mom’s comment above.
    Thank you to you and your mom for sharing your love.

  11. Christopher Paul, this was absolutely stunning and beautiful! You should print this out and put it in a nice decorative box and make a new keepsake box for your Mom. Hey maybe one of the empty boxes of wine, rinse it out, dry it out and cut the top off and place this letter and some other mementos.

  12. Speaking as a mother, we never feel “stuck” with our kids. No matter what, we always feel blessed and grateful. You brought tears to my eyes, and I can just imagine the rivers of joy pouring from your mother’s! xoM

  13. Oh, man, Mother’s Day is next week?! Nah, just kidding. I knew that. That sounded convincing, right? Right. Nah, I’m just kidding again.

    This was well done, Mr. Hinton. It was very insightful and reads beautifully. I’m sure she’ll love it.

  14. A beautifully written letter. I hope your mother appreciates it and realises how much she means to you. It’s true – mothers are very special people as they bring us into this world, for the most part cherish us and look out for us and in return, we fly their nest and make our way in the world. But stopping and giving thanks to our Mom’s once every year is really the least we can do!

  15. I have nominated you for the sunshine award. If you decline, I understand, it’s a long process to accept and post. If you accept, please follow the instructions under my post on my homepage. Blessings on your day.

  16. Ah! You’re killin me! That was beautiful, I hope my son will have reason to say the same things about me one day. :)

  17. Awww so beautiful. I don’t know your Mom but as a woman who can’t even imagine having one child and keeping my sanity she had 11, 11 right? Holy moly and look what a good job she did. Especially with my friend Christopher Paul Hinton. That’s some pretty remarkable super powers that woman has.

  18. I can’t leave a sarcastic reply to this one, Dimmi, it was too lovely for that. There is something very endearing about a man that gives his mother credit. Thanks for sharing it with all of us :)

  19. Hey there Chris! First of all, thank you very much for liking one of my posts. I am new to the blogging world and seeing that “like” is really affirming. Much appreciated. And because of that “like”, I was led to your page. And I was really glad that I was. I am absolutely moved by your letter to your mom. And her reply to you as well. Just couldn’t express enough how happy I am to see such a wonderful mother-and-son relationship. And it really adds that you are an amazing writer. Thank you for letting all of us also be a part of this post. More power!

  20. Thanks for liking one of my posts, appreciate the visit. I don’t have any witty remarks for such a sweet letter and, this is the first Mother’s Day without my mom so, glad you made up for forgetting last years Mother’s Day!

  21. Love this. Love you. Love your mother. Really love your chubby hands. Love what you can do with a crayola. Sigh. I’m writing Hallmark to ask if they can make the Dimwit collection of cards. No need to thank me now. Thank me later, preferably In the underwear and moon boots
    .

  22. OMG. . .you big footed fool. . .you have made me cry, because I thought about my son while reading this. How sweet!! I miss my boy’s little, chubby hands, and neverending hugs and kisses. He is now taller than me, and his feet will soon be as big as yours. Just the other night, he told me more than once, “I love you Mom”, totally unsolicited, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Love this post, and I bet your Mom will too!!

  23. This is pretty sweet, and by sweet I mean in the sense of an exclamation of approval proportionate to the duration of the vowel sound. That and endearing. I’m mighty glad I stumbled upon your blog. The rest of your posts had me Laughing Out Loud in public and that’s always a pleasant experience. I don’t know why I capitalized laughing out loud…
    I’m usually drawn to sad things in art so your blog is refreshing.

  24. Thumbs up for your mum, she must have done a good job to have such a lovely note written for her. I’m expecting a boy very soon and can only hope he writes me as such one day too!

  25. You make people laugh and you touch their souls…what a gift! Keep doing it…and seriously, your mom does rock. I’m thinking about writing something about her for Mother’s Day too…

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