I've moved to college.

I've finally grown up.

I can do this on my own, right?

As I've talked with acquaintances and new friends, we always return to the conversation of home. "Where is your home?" "What do you miss about your home?" "Who do you miss from home?"

It always comes back to "Who?" And as I have this conversation on nearly a daily basis with different people, I hear lots of different answers. But I always give the same response: my mom.

So, Mom, this one's for you.

1. Thank you for always being my biggest supporter.

Since day one, you've always been my biggest fan. You supported me when I was in kindergarten and wanted to be an astronaut. You supported me when I went through my "athletic" phase in middle school and thought I could actually play basketball (haha). You held my hand through big and small choices in high school, and let go, as I started to step out and pursue my passions. You helped me push the borders of my comfort zone. You never let me dream small or give up on something I truly cared about.

2. Thank you for believing in me when I didn't.

Every time I faced failures, you assured me it wasn't the end of the world. Whether it was on my sixth-grade math questions or a bad essay in high school, you reminded me that there was still room to grow, learn, and improve. When I didn't get the big scholarship we were banking on, you weren't disappointed in me. You comforted me through my tears and reassured me, that, in the end, it was all going to be alright. You've believed in me up to this day. Even now, I can call you crying about a bad essay grade, and you remind me that I can do this. You reassure me that I can achieve anything I want if I set my mind to it and never stop working for it.

3. Thank you for reminding me who I am when I forget.

When I start to make bad choices, you remind me that that's not who I am. When I start new things, you encourage me, but you also don't let me lose myself in it. When I create new relationships and friendships, you remind me that my identity still lies in Christ, and no one else. You love me regardless of my decisions, yet always encourage me to choose the best for myself.

4. Thank you for treating me as a friend.

Thank you for letting me grow up at my pace. When everyone else was telling me "Don't grow up too fast," you allowed me to become just as much your friend as your daughter. You didn't discourage me from discussing deep and controversial thoughts, getting involved, or challenging my beliefs. Thank you for the many coffee and lunch dates, encouraging notes, and road trips. Thank you for your advice and understanding. You will always be my best friend.

So yes, I've moved away from home, and most likely for good. I've grown up because you've allowed me to. But that does not mean I don't need you, because I can't do this life alone. Most of my friendships eventually weaken and die, but ours is different. You will never stop being my best friend. I still need your support, your advice, and most importantly, your friendship. I'll still laugh at your overuse of emojis or attempts to use Snapchat. I'll still call you on a nearly daily basis. It's not just because you're my mom, but because you're my best friend. I'm so lucky to have been blessed with a mom like you: the one that has always shown me love.

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes