To Peter and Anne
Being your Mum changed me profoundly. There is no title in my life that I’ve appreciated more, except now maybe Granny. Motherhood has made me appreciate every single minute that I have and the importance of my strong and loving relationship with Dad. It can be difficult to grow up with a mother in the spotlight—you and Dad have kept me down-to-earth and given me perspective on what’s important in life.
I think it’s a specialty of women and mothers in particular to feel guilty about everything—guilty that we’re working too much, or not doing as much around the house, or taking off from work to pick you up at school—but then I look back at all of our family photographs and see the hundreds of wonderful memories we have together and I realize that the four of us have done pretty well.
There was the holiday we took to France when you were five and seven—one of my favorite times with you was driving all over the country listening to The Chronicles of Narnia and sitting outside a beautiful French castle waiting for the chapter to finish. And the time you both hungrily tucked into escargot in Paris. Then there was the four-way foot rub after we toured the Smithsonian museums when you were teens.
And we’ve had many adventures in the outdoors together. Backpacking in four inches of rain with Grandpa in the Columbia Gorge, sailing adventures along the Inside Passage while the two of you were hanging coolers from bungee cords and turning the inside of the boat into a fort. Peter, I remember taking you on your first climb up Mount Baker when you were sixteen. Later on, when you were a volunteer climbing ranger at Mount Rainier, all four of us went up to Camp Muir, and you and I climbed the summit together—you leading me this time, making me camp pancakes at the wee hours of the morning. And Anne, I treasure our backpacking outings every summer.
It has been so much fun to watch you grow and develop as adults. Anne, you are one of the most tenacious people I know, and one of the least judgmental. You have always been great at seeing the whole person as well as standing up for yourself.
Peter, you are adventurous, and also an incredibly kind, sensitive person, calm in the face of incredible stress as a nurse. I am proud to watch you as a great father and husband.
I want you both to be happy with who you are. Take care of yourselves. Sleep well, enjoy nature, align your work with your values, and recognize the people you admire most and model what they do.
I know you will share your strong values and a commitment to making this world a better place with the next generation. You continue to make me and Dad proud!
Jewell is the U.S. Secretary of the Interior