Tell Them You Love Them.

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My dear friends, Shelly and Mark Kramer, lost Mark’s father this week to Alzheimer’s.

I have no words. The death of a loved one and/or family member sucks. The Kramers also said goodbye to their two beloved dogs, Bella and Sophie, late last year. So tonight, Ron Kramer will rest along with Bella and Sophie in a cozy bed of relief wrapped in wonderful memories of his family, especially his twin granddaughters who visited weekly with Mark.

When I called Shelly to ask what I could do, she told me to call my own parents and tell them I love them. I did so, and am dedicating this post to them and all the things I love about them (by no means is this list exhaustive).

Mom first:

  • Mom taught me the importance of education. She dropped out of college to support herself. My dad began law school right after they got married and so she continued working to support them. Once we kids were in grade school, she went back part time for eleven years to get her Bachelor’s degree. Then she got her Master’s in social work from Tulane. GO, MOM! Never set aside your dreams.
  • Mom taught me about being kind to people. About making donations to good causes. About cooking dinners for friends who have experienced a tragedy or a bump in the road. About helping the homeless, those less fortunate, and those with special needs. About being kind to animals and picking up litter.
  • Mom taught me to be myself. She listened to me, encouraged me and told me that mean girls don’t matter. It took a long time, but eventually I realized she was right.
  • Mom taught me about eating dinner as a family every night. Mom made the dinners and facilitated this, but this was also Dad’s idea. No television, no distraction. Just family time, talking about our days, and interacting with each other. Doesn’t matter if the food is take out or a frozen Stouffer’s lasagna. Not that I would serve that. A-hem. Another ritual of hers I loved was Baskin Robbins on Friday afternoons after school. A treat to end the school week!
  • Mom taught me to value and appreciate my teachers. I’m lucky enough to have had many phenomenal teachers in my life. What they do? I could NEVER do. But I’ve had several I will never forget who made profound and lasting impacts on me. And my mom has also been my teacher!
  • Last, but certainly not least, mom taught me how to be a mom. She was here for the births of all three of my daughters. She held me when I cried, she stayed up late with the babies so I could sleep, she cooked, cleaned and did our laundry. She scooped dog poop, walked the dog, and bathed him. She ran my household when I couldn’t. She did all the things that needed to be done AND helped with the babies. She taught me how to be a mom and how to juggle.

Dad’s turn:

  • Dad taught me about looking professional so that people will take you seriously. He wears nice suits, ties, shoes, and you’d never know he’d just scarfed down an entire bottle of Maalox before entering the courtroom for his opening statement. Anxiety is unbecoming in the professional atmosphere.
  • Dad taught me about preserving family memories and history in photograph and film. We have a lot of it. There’d be so much we’d forget without it. We have oodles of silent films from our early years that he recently transferred to dvd’s. It’s incredible to watch. Hurricane Katrina destroyed a lot, but what we have left was thanks to dad and his love of photography and putting together albums.
  • Dad taught me about paying attention to what I read, and both he and Mom helped foster my love of reading. Dad would give us random pamphlets on “How to Be Successful,” or “How to Make Money Doing What You Love.” We’d have to read them and do mini book reports for him. We kvetched and although I know his intentions were good, we were too young to understand. But I remember how important it was to him, and therefore it became important to me.
  • Dad taught me an appreciation of art. When I graduated high school, he took my brother Mark and me on a trip to New York City. We went to the Guggenheim Museum and although we were initially baffled by Four Plates of Glass Leaning and other abstract oddities, those memories stuck with me.

The Guggenheim in NYC


  • Dad also taught me a love of foreign travel. When I was 14, he flew to France with me and gently dropped me off with a French family whose son we’d hosted several summers prior. It was terrifying but exhilarating and a few years later he took me back to France in addition to England and Norway. Someday when the girls are older, I’d love to travel overseas again–both with and without my kids!

So today’s the day to tell your parents you love them. Mom and Dad, I love you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I don’t tell you often enough that I love you. I’m going to work on doing a better job of that. There’s nothing you’ve done that I’ve taken for granted—not one thing. And you continue to inspire me every day to be the best that I can be.




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  • From Tracie

    This is absolutely beautiful, Erin. 

    • Erin Margolin

      Thank you, Tracie—and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • From Tracie

        Thanks, Erin!! xoxo =)

  • Katy Schamberger

    A wonderful and moving post, Erin – you’re a beautiful writer. And a wonderful message, too – we can’t take anything for granted, and shouldn’t hesitate each and every day to tell the people we love how we feel about them. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Erin Margolin


      Thanks so much, girlie! I am so glad @ShellyKramer:twitter  inspired me to do this/write about this. I owe my parents sooooo much.

      p.s. can’t wait to hang out w/ you at Blissdom!!

  • Simone

    I’m so sorry that your friends have had to experience loss. I hope they will hold the memories of their dad close to their hearts.

    Great reminder to acknowledge the blessings and gifts that come from our parents. 

  • Kimberly

    This is such a beautiful reminder.
    You never know…
    I’m so sorry for your friends loss.
    Sending them love and strength

    • Erin Margolin


      You never know is right. I just hate thinking about that….but it’s silly to live in fear of what could happen. Better instead to live in the now and tell people how you feel….

  • What She Said

    What a lovely tribute to your parents. I talk to mine almost every day and can’t imagine a world in which one or both of them don’t exist. I’m so sorry for your friends’ heartbreaking loss. 

    • Erin Margolin

      What She Said,

      I know. I don’t want to think about losing mine. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Having just lost my mother and my father several years ago I can say the one thing I don’t have is any regrets. They both knew I loved them and that I would have done anything for them.

    • Erin Margolin


      I am so sorry you’ve lost your parents, but what a wonderful feeling—-to know that you expressed everything to them and they knew  how you felt. AWESOME! xoxo

  • Shelly Kramer

    I love this!!!!! Thank you, Erin. This is the greatest gift you could ever give. To Mark AND to your parents. Bravo, my friend. (smooches)

    • Jbswrker

      My deepest condolences, to your husband and all your family, for the loss of your father-in-law.  What a loving and generous gesture, to direct Erin to her own parents!  In the midst of your grief, you found a really profound way to pay tribute to a loved one.  Julie

    • Erin Margolin


      Smooches back to you for giving me the idea—which I should’ve had on my own long ago. Like someone else said above—I get so caught up in MY kids and MY life…I owe it to myself and my parents to call them more often and make sure they know I love them.

      I love you, too, and am glad you’re feeling better!

  • Heather Ostrom

    That was amazing … I love it Erin. :-)

    • Erin Margolin


      I love YOU. Thank you so much for coming over to read and leave me some comment love. @ShellyKramer always has some inspiration for me!

  • Dave Van de Walle

    How awesome. Time for me to call Mom to check in.

    • Erin Margolin


      That’s exactly what I did after I talked to Shelly. Except that my mom happened to be in town visiting. But I did call my dad! Thanks so much for stopping by to read & comment!

  • Julie Gardner

    Your parents must be so proud of you. And there is so much love here.

    So much.

    Your girls are lucky that this is the legacy you’ll be sharing with them.

    • Erin Margolin

      Dear Julie,

      I would be LYING if I said I didn’t love my parents. I would also LIE down and die for my kids.  I LAY my heart on the line every day for them. Well, most days.

      Did I get it right? LOVED that post. You make me smile!

  • Ally

    Beautiful, heart warming post, Erin.

    • Erin Margolin


      Thank you for reading, sweets! ;-)

  • Missy | Literal Mom

    What a wonderful tribute to your parents.  Sometimes I get so caught up in MY here and now with MY kids that I forget I’m someone’s kid too.  And they do deserve thanks and love.  Often.  Thanks for the reminder.

    • Erin Margolin


      Me too, me too. Which is why I jumped on this. I think we all forget sometimes, and that’s okay! ;-)

  • Jbswrker

    Your post is so representative of who you are!  Although it may have been Shelly’s incredibly thoughtful and generous suggestion, you followed up in such a touching tribute to your father and to me.  I so appreciate everything you said….I so appreciate the daughter that you are!  I am in awe of you, and inspired by you, each and every day.  Abby, Izzy and Piper are three very lucky girls!

    • Erin Margolin

      Thanks, mom. I love you!! We miss you and really enjoyed your visit!

  • Elaine A.

    So lovely and what a great list!  You were raised by some really amazing people, my friend. :)

    • Erin Margolin


      Awww, thank you! So were you—as evidenced by what an incredible person you are! xoxo