Editor’s Epilogue: A thank-you letter to my parents
Dear Anne and Baba,
Süpriz! You probably never thought I’d do something like this, but here I am.
I’d like to begin by sincerely apologizing for my early and mid-teenage years. In my mind, it was me against you guys, and I very much refused to see the reasoning behind your points of view.
I’m sorry for every vacation where I dragged my feet, upset because I’d rather spend time at home in Michigan with my friends instead of with my family in Chile or Morocco or Japan. I’m sorry for basing so much of my happiness on materialistic passions like concerts or albums or posters rather than enjoying that excitement at home with you two. I’m sorry for not appreciating your relaxed nature or for allowing me to experience freedoms that so many of my other friends couldn’t even fathom. I’m sorry for not ever saying thank you.
Diverging from the specific terrorizing era of my early teenage years, I want to express thanks for everything that you have done for me throughout my life. There isn’t enough room on this page — or any page for that matter — that would be able to sufficiently hold what I want to say. But I’ll try my best here.
Thank you for just being there for me. Anne, thank you for raising me on your own for those first four years of my life, working full-time while also caring for a newborn. And Baba, thank you for stepping in and being the best dad I could have ever asked for, even if we aren’t blood related. Thank you both for my little sisters and for showing me what a wonderful family looks like.
Thank you for making sure that I grew up speaking and understanding my ana dil — mother language — a trait that I plan on passing on to my own children. It means more than you could ever imagine, having two brilliant Middle Eastern immigrant parents taking the time and energy to teach their child Turkish. I get my love of languages, and my ability to learn them, from your efforts.
Thank you for pushing my extracurriculars and taking me to them, no matter how many times I threw temper tantrums or faked sickness to get out of going. Even though I haven’t been serious about playing the violin for a few years, I still find part of my identity in it, and my love and appreciation for classical music is ever-growing. I greatly appreciate your push for my athleticism, to make sure that I was raised doing physical activities so that I would continue them and stay healthy for the rest of my life. Through swim lessons and tennis practices and soccer scrimmages and ice skating performances, I grew as a person as much as I grew as an athlete.
Thank you for leading me to academic excellence, even when I cried as I watched my friends jump on the neighbor’s trampoline while I was stuck inside doing extra math homework or reading exercises. Thank you for sitting down with me every night, even after long days at work, to teach me about quadratic equations or matrices or how to prepare for the PSAT. Now I’m at USC in a program that’s ranked number one in the country.
Thank you for raising me to be so independent and so powerful, even though our surrounding community is so averted to the idea of seeing a woman of color succeed. Thank you for taking me to all those protests, for teaching me about my rights as an American citizen (I remember watching Baba preparing for his citizenship test when I was young; we’d listen to the audio tape and both try to answer the questions as he drove me to and from activities) and for telling me that I am equal to, if not better than, any man. Thank you to Baba for being one of the biggest feminists I know, and, of course, Anne — because even your birth name means “revolution.” It perfectly encapsulates who you are as a person and the type of role model you’ve been.
Thank you for granting me free reign on who exactly I wanted to be, even though you likely had a different idea of what the “perfect child” may have looked like (spoiler: not me). Thank you for not pushing one religion or another on me, even though Turkish culture relies heavily on Islam.
And, finally, thank you for all the home-cooked meals, open conversations and the feeling that I can be vulnerable with you. And, of course, thank you for being my parents.
Her şey için teşekkürler.
I love you both.
“Editors’ Epilogue” is a rotating column featuring a new Daily Trojan editor in each installment and their personal experiences of living in what seems to be an irrepressible dumpster fire of a world. Daphne Yaman is one of the Opinion section editors at the Daily Trojan.