Mom, I know growing up, when you told me I couldn’t hang out with so-and-so or be out so late, I promised I would never be like you after you told me I would...and some day I would understand. I said I would never discipline my kids the way you did because I felt like you never understood, or I would never do those little habits like cleaning late at night, or get into weird health habits and force the family to eat crazy sounding things to better our health. Now I’m on my own in young adulthood, and all I hope to be is you.

How lucky am I to have a mother who’s so full of beauty and life that growing up and learning lessons were always shadowed by her grace. I would not be half the young woman I am today, and all that you have done for me at times may seem like it is taken for granted, but everyday I realize even the smallest reasons how lucky I am to be raised by you.

I know at one point I swore I never would be like you, but now I find myself modeling everything I do from your example. I only hope that I hold the grace and compassion towards others that you do. I only hope to hold your compassion and humility. To be able to care for others and never ask anything in return the way you do amazes me.

Being in my 20s and on my own in this huge world gets overwhelming so easily, simple things like "do I have to separate my laundry" are actually huge questions that I could not answer without you. Yet somehow you managed to raise two daughters and juggle a job at my age. Meanwhile, I will go weeks without groceries and reuse dirty laundry until it’s embarrassing because multitasking in life was not a skill I acquired. I do not know how you did it, but the older I get, the more I try to live in your example.

Thank you for demonstrating that women can be independent. There was a moment you were a single mom and showed me that I will never need to depend on a man to survive. That was one of the greatest lessons I could have learned, that becoming my own before someone else’s was the first thing I needed to do, and I will always hold that close to my heart. Thank you for demonstrating compassion for others, for not only making sure that my younger sister and I lived a comfortable life but also reaching out and helping others when you could. Thank you for always smiling to strangers and holding conversations with random people, for showing me the beauty in getting to know your neighbor. Most importantly, thank you educating me that everything I create in this lifetime is unique to me and just as important as the next person's.

All that I hope to be is you. The older I get, the more I find myself doing the same actions that you would do, mom. I only hope that someday my kids will look to me as I look to you, that I can pass on love in the form of grace and compassion. The support you give me goes beyond unconditional love. Beauty shines in those who know their power and use it in the form of love, and I can think of no better example than you.