Mother Letters: The Stuff of Heroes

a blurry snapshot of a professional photo taken by Rich Austen of Austen’s Photography, Arroyo Grande CA. His work is excellent, mine not-so-much.

Dear Mother, My First-Born and Mama-to-Our-First-Grandchild,

Have I ever told you that you’re my hero(ine)? The first child born to us, teaching us the depths of love by your very presence, filling us with delight and providing endless hours of entertainment! 

That first child teaches his or her parents so, so much – as you discovered, at exactly the same age I was when you were born. How I admired your parenting instincts, right from the get-go. I remembered my own early fumbling and worrying and over-protective hovering with chagrin as I watched you let that boy of yours climb anything and everything, no matter how high. He was fearless! And how you delighted in that, how you celebrated it. 

Such a gift to give a child! 

Two more boys followed that first one, all three of them miracles of grace and goodness and fun. Because their dad had been so very sick early in his life, each of those healthy baby boys was a true miracle, the result of God’s grace and your love for one another and for each of them. You took trips and had adventures, tried scouting and read books by the basketful, taught them to love well, to create art and music and to grow friendships that went deep. 

And then things got pretty tough for several years. The after-effects of treatment received many years before brought suffering and eventually such loss. And you walked through every second of that with courage and commitment, with honesty and hard work and frayed nerves and sleepless nights and 

And your boys walked right with you, learning lessons we all hoped and prayed they’d never have to learn. Together you and their dad decided to be a family until the end, no matter how hard it got. And the two of you set such an example of courage for your small circle of five and for our extended families on both sides and for all the people who loved you. Yes, you are my hero, dear one. Every inch of you brave beyond belief. 

And now, nearly four years later, there is grace and there is laughter, buoyed by strong memories of the past and strong hopes for the future. God sent love again, a good man to be your companion and an encourager for your sons. 

One of those has flown the nest, another will soon follow. And your own courage and steady commitment over these 21 years has given them beautiful, resilient wings – wings that will take them safely to the next stage of life. I know this because I know about redemption. I know about grace. I know about commitment. I know about courage. 

And I know these truths most deeply because God gave me you. Because God allowed me the great privilege of being your mom. Because you and your sister and your brother are living proof that the age of miracles is not past. Somehow, you survived all the mistakes I made and thrived! Thanks be to God. 

I love you, 


The final installment for Amber Haines’ collection of Mother Letters at her site, as she and Seth launch their exquisite eBook of the same title. You can find the latest letters at this link:

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  1. Linda Chontos says

    These make me cry Diana – but sweet tears. Oh the wonderful grace that fills in all those places where we have made a mess of things. Can there be any more precious gift that knowing that our grown children love the Lord and that their lives are a reflection of that love.
    This is simply exquisite.

  2. Thanks, Linda. These kids make me cry with wonder and gratitude on a regular basis.

  3. Glenda Childers says

    I am loving these honoring letters.

    Thanks so much, Diana, for joining the conversation on my blog. Your thought was so important … blogging and reading blogs is part of our spiritual experience. I love not having things separated into  little boxes.

  4. Thanks for your kind words, Glenda – as always! And the longer I live, the more I see that life is of a piece and tho’ concentrated time alone with God is a gift and necessary for all kinds of reasons, the truth is that God walks with us through the day and the more we can learn to tune into that truth, the more integrated all of life becomes.

  5. Diana–are these your beautiful children?  Wow, what a blessing! And a legacy you have left them…

  6. Each of the three ‘Mother Letters’ contains a photo of a professional photo we had taken on our recent family vacation, so yes, these are my kids and grandkids. Two daughters and one son plus their spouses and children. And they are a blessing, indeed. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Jody.

  7. Love this post.  Such a beautiful picture.  

    And those first born do teach us so so much.  They had to blaze the way for the next ones to come.  Love the way you are honoring.  

  8. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jan. And thanks for your kind words.

  9. Patricia Spreng says

    You encourage me by honoring your children so beautifully. 
    You reminded me that in the depths of the times that don’t go well, the story is not over.  Mine isn’t, yours isn’t…   Oh, thank God that he is continually redeeming us and various parts of our lives…

  10. Your words made me weep – literally – as I sit here. So moved and inspired by your love and your children’s. Stepping back to see how BIG God truly is helps on the day to day steps, that often feel more like treading water than walking anywhere. Thank you, Diana – this is just beautiful! I am encouraged to think about how to frame such word legacies for my own children, perhaps at different stages of reflection on their lives and within God’s plan for us. Love you so!

  11. Oh, Caro. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving these so kind words. And hang in there – it will be worth the work, sleeplessness, angst as well as all the joy in the process. Love you, too.

  12. Thank you, Pat, for your kind words and good reminder that God is always in the business of redemption.

  13. I downloaded a copy of the book and now just need time to read it! Thank you for sharing such personal and precious letters to your children Diana.

    I made myself at home and looked around your blog. What a beautiful family you have lady!

  14. Oh Diana. This makes me cry. Thanks be to God.

  15. This was so sweet. I also have a 21 year old son. In fact two!  They are going through a really really hard time right now but a mother’s love never falters. Neither do her prayers.
    Looks like we are in the same small group 🙂

  16. Dtrautwein says

    I hope to have a review of the book in a day or two – here on the site and at Amazon. It is truly lovely – in every way possible. Such an encouragement to moms! And it gave me a great excuse to write some letters to the three moms in my life who have my heart and my deep admiration. Thanks for stopping by, Connie.

  17. Dtrautwein says

    My sentiments exactly, Sandy. This has been a season of deep gratitude and rejoicing as ashes have been turned to garments of praise.

  18. Dtrautwein says

     21 is a stretching age, and our 21 year old grandson is stretching and discovering. We pray a lot and trust God for the future. He’s a junior, studying film at Chapman College and loving his independence. A good man. I’ll be praying for your sons as I take my evening walks – always glad to see you here and delighted to be in the same small group with  you.

  19. Good heavens, Diana! You might have prefaced this post with a warning: Do not attempt to read without tissues nearby. What a gift you’ve given your daughter. And, as much as I love the ways we can use all this technology to build one another up, I hope she prints this out and reads it often.

    Beauty for ashes–such hope there. In the midst of a wandering season, hoping and praying God will redeem some of those mothering mistakes–not because I deserve it, but because He is good.

  20. Twas a really rich experience to do – I wrote a letter to all 3 of the moms in my family circle, 2 of whom I raised and 1 of whom has been God’s 3rd daughter gift in my life. And I made so.many.mistakes. – and they make ’em, too – just wanted to encourage them that from my vantage point, each of them is remarkable, strong and truly gifted with this mothering stuff. Thanks for coming by, Nancy and leaving such kind words.