… and this is what I’ve recently had to say to the two most important women in my life.

Letter to my mom this past weekend, for her 72nd birthday:

Want to wish you the happiest of happy days today … or at least as happy as a day that coincides with the anniversary of a tragedy (and associated socio-political and pseudo-religious BS pervading the media) can be.

I’ve been thinking about family lots lately, and I know that I am truly lucky to have you as my mother; oh, sure, we annoy each other sometimes … that’s what mothers and sons do, but I’d like to think that you raised me to to be a good person and a good man, and to my mind, that’s the best sign of successful parenting; for when it really comes down to it, if you don’t have the love and respect of your family, then you have nothing.

So while I may not always show it in a timely manner, you are always with me in my heart … and whenever I make a decision in life, I think about how I was raised … by you, by Gramma, by Uncle Gene, by our family; all of whom are a part of you, all of whom are a part of me … and try to make the right decision, even if it’s not necessarily the decision I want to make.

I do love you … and I do respect you, more than I can ever really express.

I truly hope that you have a fantastic birthday today.

Much love!

And to my ex-wife, with whom I still have a pretty good relationship, even if we rarely see each other anymore. I’m glad that, as divorces go, mine was a good one.

All I’ve ever wanted in a partner is someone I can love, and who will love me in return.

What I didn’t realize and was afraid of was the true necessity of putting in the work to allow that love to continue to develop and grow and thrive, rather than just bursting into one fantastic bloom before dying off.

Just because you have some history that affects the way that you react to certain kinds of stimuli does not negate the fact that you are an incredible person. You just need someone who can see beyond that, and is willing and able to help you see and accept that within yourself.

I have my own history, as you are well aware, but I now know and accept that I am a good person, and a good man … and if and when I meet the next right person, I feel confident that things will turn out differently than they did with our marriage.

You are still one of the best things to have ever happened to me; and I still firmly believe that we were each what the other person needed, at least during our time together. I also know that I wouldn’t be who I am now if you weren’t a part of my life. And for that, you will always have my appreciation, my love, and my respect.

I’ve expressed similar feelings to a few other people who are important to me as well … and you know what? It feels good. I don’t care how mushy it is, I don’t care what other people think … I just know that I had something to say to the people who mean something to me, and felt compelled to say it, and there’s not a damned thing wrong with that. In fact, there’s a lot right with it.