I'm not very good with the mushy stuff. We all know that by now. That is probably why I struggle being able to tell you more often how much I appreciate you. But, it's true. People always say we look a lot alike and that's ok with me. I am really hoping though that someday someone will tell me that I remind them of you in the way that I carry myself. In the way that I treat others. In the way that I laugh out of joy. And in the way that I raise my future children.
You may already know this, but you have been so much more than a mother by definition. You have been one of my dearest friends. A confidant. A teacher (at one point quite literally). And someone that I've had to tell everything to and ask advice from all at the same time.
You were the person that slept in a stuffy hospital chair, right by my side, through my whole diagnosis. You were the person that comforted me through teenage heartaches. You were the person that went on countless shopping trips with me. Partners in crime. Poor dad. You put up with my toddler tantrums when that teddy bear sweatsuit was all I wanted to wear (for the third day in a row).
You prayed with me every night and did all the voices to my stuffed bunny. You were my "girl talk" buddy that ate cheese and pickles with me on your over-sized water bed. You pushed me to try when I wanted to give up. You believed in my possibilities when I couldn't see any. You showed me the joy of the Lord every day through your attitude....and your singing.
You sacrificed your life, and in some ways what I'm sure were your dreams, to stay at home and pour into your children. To pour into me. I am who I am today largely because of you mom. And I want to tell you thank you. And I love you.