Less than three months ago I became a mother: a lifelong dream of mine. Even as a little girl I wanted to be like you, Mom. I didn't understand all you did for me, how blessed (and a little bit spoiled) I was. All I knew was that I loved you and you loved me. Your world seemed to revolve around me and that's just the way life worked. I never even thought to worry that there might be some time that you wouldn't be able to take care of me.
You showed me compassion when you had me choose some of my toys and clothes to take to children with less than me, even when we were struggling financially. You never let me know how hard it was for you and Dad to make ends meet for those few hard years. You never allowed me to carry that burden, or worry about what was coming. I had complete faith in you to make everything turn out all right.
I remember when I was four and a balloon animal that was given to me popped. I was sad until Daddy told me, "give it to Mommy, she can fix anything." I quickly learned that a popped balloon animal could not be fixed, but far from diminishing my trust in you, I learned from Dad that I could trust you with anything.
When I wanted a fabulous Halloween costume you never failed to deliver something beautiful and extraordinary. What's more, you never complained about my high expectations or the long hours spent at the sewing machine after we had all gone to bed, even when you had a young baby to take care of in the middle of the night. I thought grownups just didn't need as much sleep, and that you always stayed up late, that you liked sewing for me more than resting. Now that I have my own baby, I know what a sacrifice it must have been for you.
You listened to everything I went through, starting with the little things (ladybugs that refused to be caught, my caterpillar that wouldn't turn into a butterfly) to the huge amounts of angst I suffered in high school as I fussed over boys and bullies. You never diminished my suffering or told me to get over it. You always held me as I cried, even if moments before I had been yelling at you, or when I had totally brought my pain on myself.
You always told me that I was beautiful, that I didn't need makeup to be pretty, but you also taught me how to do my makeup and hair so that I didn't look like a clown when I tried to do it myself. Even more importantly, you taught me how to take care of my body. You always made sure that I had a "sport" to participate in and vegetables with dinner. You taught me to brush my teeth and wash my face.
You taught me patience. How did you keep your cool with five crazy kids and an oldest daughter that always needed your full attention? You taught me to love unconditionally. You showed me how to serve others, how to be kind, and how to balance my life. You helped me by not hiding your mistakes, but using them to teach me so that I wouldn't have to make the same ones to learn the lessons that would help me be a better person.
You always had faith in me. You never told me there was something I couldn't accomplish. You helped a tone-deaf, monotone little girl work her way up into a collegiate audition choir. You helped a girl who was too clumsy to skip for years to win dance competitions.
You supported me and helped me to look for my husband with spiritual eyes. When I told you in July that I wanted to be married at Thanksgiving you jumped right in with me to make the wedding happen. You were there with me on that special day, helping to make everything perfect, and you graciously passed the baton of best friend and helper to my husband.
You've laughed with me, cried with me, and never gave up on me.
And on the day you were called at four in the morning and told your grandson was coming early, you jumped on a plane and made it in time to share the most special moment of my life so far. You stayed for two weeks and mothered me again as I tried to learn to be a mother myself while recovering from the most physically traumatic thing I've been through so far.
You are an angel from Heaven. Your love, patience, and selflessness are truly divine. I thank our loving Father that he gave me to such an amazing mother to teach me how to live, and I hope that I can be as wonderful of a mommy as you are. I love you, I am so grateful for you, and twenty-almost-two years later I still want to be like you. Thank you, Mom, for everything.