Dear Mama and Daddy, From Your Daughter In College

Dear Mama and Daddy, From Your Daughter In College

They have been there for every cut, bruise, sickness, heartbreak, and failure.

During my time at college I have realized how truly blessed I am to have had such supportive parents with high expectations. My mom and dad (or mama and daddy as I call them) are my biggest fans, and they have been since I was in the womb.

They have been there for every cut, bruise, sickness, heartbreak, and failure. I could not have done the past 19 years of my life without them. I don't say thank you as much as I should or would like to, I think that is something a lot of us can relate to. I decided to write a letter to help supplement for all the thank yous I haven't said;

Dear Mama and Daddy,

I want to thank you for raising me to be the woman that I am today. I couldn't have achieved anything without you in my life. You have always been there for me, you deserve the world, and I wish I could give it to you. Thank you. Thank you for putting antibiotic cream and band-aids on my various scrapes and cuts throughout the years.

Thank you for putting me in karate, and starting my motivation for being an independent and strong-willed person. I was lucky enough to have parents like you that would push past the stereotypes for children and allow me to be different.

Thank you for putting food on the table and making sure I had a roof over my head. I always took this for granted until I grew older and realized that not everyone's parents think they're obligated to do so. Thank you for being involved in my education! I can't express how thankful I am that you were motivating and you encouraged me to strive for success in anything I did.

Now that I'm older, I realize just how many kids out there have parents who couldn't tell you anything about their child's classes, teachers, or grades. Thank you for telling me I can do it, even when I'm sobbing and saying that I can't. "Can't never could" as my Mama would say.

Thank you for making sure I treated others with respect and knew how to be humble. Thank you so much for teaching me how to appreciate what I have. Thank you for being there when that jerk broke my heart and making sure I knew I was valued and would move on eventually. Thank you for making sure I knew I could do great things in life. Thank you for not giving me limits on my abilities.

I also want to thank you for teaching me how to check and change my oil, so that I can show up the guy who assumed I needed help. Thank you for helping me with college applications. Thank you for answering my multiple questions as I panic 2 hours away. Thank you for still making me feel like your little girl even though I'm married now. But most importantly, thank you for always doing the best that you can.

I know I don't say thank you enough, but I want you to know that it runs through my mind when I'm sitting at my desk looking at my high school graduation pictures, when I'm eating your delicious pumpkin rolls, or when I sit in class and hear about other people's experiences with their parents. There are so many other things I could thank you for, but I hope in your heart, you know all of them.

With love,

Holly Star

Cover Image Credit: Peaches & Honey Photography

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I Was Raised By A Single Parent, And I’m Better For It

Being raised by a single parent does not have to be negative, I am grateful for being raised by a single parent!

National Single Parents Day is March 21st, and my single parent experience benefitted me.

Being raised by a single parent has become normal in today's society in America. Whether it is a mother or a father raising their child, being a single parent can sometimes be straining on both the parent and the child. The nature of the relationship is what depends on whether it will be a positive or negative impact. My single parent's experience has been a positive one.

For me, my parents divorced when I was 9 months old; therefore, I never actually had to experience the process of divorce. I am grateful for that because I know that is hard. I am also grateful that my single parent was not actually just a single parent. Both of my parents are in my life, but my mom primarily raised me.

Being raised by a single parent made me be grateful for the little things. It also taught me not to be bitter towards families that are still together. I know me, my mom, and my dad is much happier the way we are rather than forcing a marriage and having unhappy parents that would fight all the time. Both of my parents have remarried and are happy with their marriages.

I was extremely lucky with how my parent's divorce was. Both of my parents love me and want the best for me. Being a single parent was hard for my mom, and I saw the effects it had on her. She worked her butt off to make sure I had all the tools in life to make sure I can be successful. I will forever be grateful for that.

My single parent situation has made my life have even more people who love me. For example, my stepdad's parents treat me like their own grandchild and that makes me feel so loved that they accept me into the family even if I am not blood.

Being raised by a single parent should not carry this negative attitude that was assigned to it by society. Yes, it does depend on your environment and how it is handled, but it does not have to negative.

Soooo Happy National Single Parents Day!

Cover Image Credit: Melissa Sherwood

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Happy Birthday, Mom

To the woman who helped shape the man I've become.


As I've already told you by now, happy birthday. I'm glad I got to spend the week leading up to it back home with you and Dad for spring break.

I could write pages and pages about what you've done for me. It would take endless articles to chronicle the ways in which you've impacted me and the man I've become, so this will only serve as a basic overview. Here's a statement to the world about how wonderful you are.

When I meet new people and they ask about my family, as they often do, I have a tailor-made story (that you already know) that explains your defining characteristic.

I tell them about the first real date I ever went on, in between my eighth and ninth grade year. You dropped me off at the park to meet my girlfriend at the time. You didn't stay long; you probably talked to her for about a minute or two. Then you left us to hang out while you were off somewhere else in the park. When you left, the first five minutes (no exaggeration) were just my girlfriend telling me how nice you were.

While I might have chosen a different way to begin my first date than hearing a soliloquy about your character, I can't deny that you were and still are one of the kindest people out there. You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know, and the level of kindness you show is something that I try to emulate.

It's the reason, I figure, why I'm following your footsteps into a helping profession. You were always so helpful for me, and as a counselor, I know you're helpful for others. For as long as I can remember, I've felt that same love.

Your compassion came in handy for me many times, as I could be a pretty sensitive kid. More stern parents might have, for example, told my fifth-grade self to stop crying while I was waiting for the bus and to just get used to middle school (fair point though - middle school can be a scary place for a kid). You and Dad, however, opted to come throw a baseball with me at the bus stop so that I would be distracted and have a good start to my day.

When I've had my heart broken or broken it myself with mistakes, you've been right there to validate and listen. You weren't always telling me what I want to hear, but you were being present.

I couldn't have had the successes I've had if not for you, either. Consider football, for example. I never would have been an all-state athlete or had the chance to play in college if you wouldn't have cooked me copious amounts of (mostly healthy) food in high school. You helped me go from a lanky 185-pound freshman to a bulky 250-pound senior lineman. Your excellent cooking made gaining that weight a lot easier; I didn't have to trust school lunches to do the trick. Your desserts also helped, of course.

You've shown me a tremendous amount of fight and courage as you've fought against cancer, ever since I was in high school. It never quite struck me as real, in part because even though you are soft-spoken, you present yourself with an incredible strength. My friends, when they find out that you have cancer, are always shocked – they comment that they would never have guessed. I know it's not easy for you; I know that it's probably on your mind a lot. But you (just like other survivors) have fought and battled with a quiet strength that I admire and that I'm not sure I could ever match.

You taught me so much more. You taught me to love the outdoors, what it's like to live on a farm, how to (temporarily) like country music, and to stand up for what is right.

You are a smart, strong, powerful, loving, sweet, beautiful woman, and I am eternally grateful to God that He made me your son.

I love you, Mom.

Your son,


Cover Image Credit: Harvey Family Photo

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