Open Letter to the Relatives and Friends Who Showed Up
This letter is to my parents, my sister, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends of my parents. For clarity, I am using more formal names (“Mom,” “Dad,” etc.) rather than the nicknames I actually use.
Dear Those Mentioned Above,
Many of you are no longer here, but I still wanted to write this letter of gratitude to you for showing up to support me. As a child — and an adult — I have been lucky to have people in my life who attended my important events. Because of you, I always had friendly faces in the audience when I had a dance recital, a play, a basement magic show, or a backyard musical.
Even at the dreadful, droning, hours-long graduation ceremonies that no one — not even most of the graduates — wanted to attend, you were there.
I never had the privilege of knowing my grandparents, who all died young. You all worked together to help fill those significant gaps.
Uncle Walter, you loved to remind me of the strict instructions I gave you, my parents, and my sister before you all attended my ballet recital: “Don’t look at me. And don’t smile.” I was a shy five-year-old and could barely stomach the thought of people staring at me on a stage.
You always laughed when you recalled how I brought a fellow ballerina into the audience before the performance, pointed at you, and told her, “That’s him, right there. That’s my uncle.” Despite my strange edicts, I was so glad you came.
Aunt Jane, I remember how enthusiastic you were after the community productions of Guys and Dolls and Hello, Dolly, raving about the performance in general and me specifically.
Dad, you have always spread the word far and wide about my endeavors and have given supportive feedback afterwards.
Mom, you deserve a gold medal for the many videos you took — especially those you took using a heavy 1980s camcorder you rented without a tripod, hoisting it on your shoulder for two hours to record my very first improv comedy show.
Everyone, I suppose I took your presence for granted a bit. I thought that all kids had such support. As an adult, I’ve learned that’s not true…