I’ve finally found some words to say thank you


Shelly Batterbee

My parents have done so much for me over the years.

Over the years, I have found myself being very repetitive in the topics I write about. I write about my love of childhood and my longing to return to the blissful days of ignorance. I write about ballet and all it has done for me. I write about my friends and how thankful I am for everyone. But one of my favorites to come back to is my family.

I wrote about my brother and how I missed him when he went off to college—even despite all of our differences. I wrote about my sister and how six years couldn’t estrange us. I wrote about my dog and how he brings light to my days. I wrote about my family and how I love being the youngest and our traditions. I wrote about my that grandpas I never got to meet. And every year when “The Countless Thanks” comes out, my family is one of the groups I thank. 

All of this, and I haven’t yet written a story to just my parents, even though they’re the ones that have raised my siblings and me to be the amazing people we have become. It’s not like I haven’t thought about it before, I just could never find the words to describe all that they have done. So here it is, my second to last column, a thank you to the two people that taught me everything I know. 

When I was a baby, they were already dealing with a six-year-old and a three-year-old, but they were always there for me. I was a baby with colic, so they never got to rest. I kept them up through tears and screams. And at the normal age babies start to talk, I still hadn’t said my first word of “shoes”—I was 70% deaf from an ear infection, so they worked to figure out how to communicate with their child, and in the process, made my brother jealous for life—I was allowed to jump in the house and he wasn’t. 

When I was a toddler, I can’t imagine I was very fun. I made my brother bleed when I chucked an Elmo doll at him. And I wanted to play with something on the top shelf while being independent and tall and ended up tipping over a shelving unit. I made a mess everywhere, but my parents still loved me. They played with me and dressed me up. My mom shared her accessories, and I got this gem of a picture. 

Shelly Batterbee

They let me run around in the dirt—even when I was wearing a new white dress. They didn’t mind me getting dirty because they wanted me to be a child, away from technology and at home in the earth. 

As I grew up, they continued to be there for me. They sang me lullabies, didn’t mind when I jumped in their bed when I got scared, and let me pick out my own outfits and sandwiches—no matter what concoction I dreamt up. 

They never stopped being supportive. They chauffeur me around to hours of ballet. They sing with me in the car and while doing dishes. They take silly pictures with me. 

From my mom, I got her love of the random historical monuments—I’m still disappointed that we never got to go inside Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace. I got her love of musicals and manners and laughter. I got her compassion and ambition and love of writing and adventures.

From my dad, I got his dark humor. I got his love of Kenney Chesney and Johnny Cash. I got his love of math and hard work ethic, and even some of his grumpiness—but in the best way possible. 

And I know I’m not the perfect daughter. I’m messy and procrastinate to an extreme—but hey, this semester I am on pace with my online class! I know I make them worry and I am terrible at communicating. And for all of that, I’m sorry.

There are so many memories I wish I could share. There are so many attributes I have from them. There is so much more I want to say. But for the sanity of the editors, and readers, I’ll stop here. Thank you mom and dad—for the grand adventures and the daily dinners. I love you, and I’m sorry for leaving sooner than the rest.