Throughout my life, you have taught me many lessons. You taught me that "life is too short to waste your time matching socks" and to always keep "my side of the street clean." You taught me how to microwave black coffee to the perfect temperature, how to use a curtain rod as a wine bottle opener, and how to walk confidently in heels. I learned how to photograph the best moments, how to build the most beautiful miniature Christmas village, and how to cook family meals by watching you. But, beyond all of that, you have shown me how to learn, lead, and love through embracing the obstacles life has thrown at you.
You are a badass. At only 22 years old, you left your home country of Wales to pursue your dreams in America. Leaving everything you once knew behind, you started working as an intensive care travel nurse in Florida. From there, you continued to push yourself. Accumulating experience in roles such as forensic consultant, assistant nurse manager, and even president, you have done it all. Not only are you a nurse actively working to improve the public health care system, but you are also always looking to learn by trying new things. At 50 years old, you attend Brazilian jujutsu classes just because you can. You take on a new home improvement project because you are always trying to make things better. Mom, you taught me the importance of developing knowledge not only through academics but through life.
In illustrating the value of education, you also taught me how to lead. You know how to command a room. You walk as if nothing could ever stop you, and after 19 years, I honestly don't think anything can. Exuding confidence, you inspire others to execute tasks above expectations. Your competency shines through your ideas and your emotional intelligence is emphasized by the connections you make with your staff. I have personally seen the physical and mental drain on your face after a 12-hour shift. Additionally, I have personally seen you get up less than 8 hours afterward to do the entire thing over again. Mom, you taught me that being a leader is being someone who is intelligent, compassionate, and strong.
However, the most valuable lesson you taught me is how to love. No family is perfect, and ours doesn't even happen to come close, but we have you. Despite my brothers' and I's serious and not-so-serious mistakes, you have loved us unconditionally. You make an effort to express how much you love us not only through words but also through action. You prepare my favorite meals when I come home. You remember who my friends are and ask about them. You send me Facebook posts that remind you of me - I could go on and on. Even the littlest actions emphasize the extent of your love - being the type of friend who drops everything to help. Sacrificing your wants for your children and by filling our home with acceptance, you have taught me how to love.
I love you always and unconditionally. Thank you for being your beautiful self.