For The Moms Who had To Be Both

For The Moms Who had To Be Both

For all the moms like mine who save the world every day.
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Thank you.

Thank you for making me into the person I am today. Thank you for the countless hours that you changed my diapers, wiped my tears, drove me to the mall and dealt with my "drama." Thank you for trying to help me with my math homework, make dinner and save the world all at once. Thank you for instilling the love of a Heavenly Father in me, so that when my earthly one let me down, I still felt whole and loved. Thank you for taking off work so that I would have someone there when I got the flu for the third time in a year. Thank you for knowing what to say and what to do when I had the hundredth “worst day of my life.” Thank you for getting me to every practice, game, and key club meeting (even if we were a little late.) Thank you for understanding that some days I was angry, and that was okay. Because some days, you were too; but thank you for teaching me to never hold onto it. Thank you for being both mom and dad, and being awesome at it.

I’m Sorry.

I’m sorry that sometimes I didn’t understand how hard it was on you. I’m sorry that I couldn’t always see that work, bills, and trying to raise a family was a world of difficulty most times. I’m sorry for the times that I made it harder on you, and for the days when I blamed you. I’m sorry I didn’t understand that the days I was missing a dad you were also missing a husband, a provider and a helpmate. I’m sorry that I was selfish, and didn’t realize how blessed I was to have someone like you as my mom. I’m sorry for not realizing sooner that a dysfunctional family does not mean a broken one. I’m sorry for the pressure that was placed on you to be both roles. I’m sorry for the pain you felt, and the pain you felt even deeper for me. I’m sorry that you had to do it alone, because you deserve the world and then some. I’m sorry that sometimes you don’t see that, but know that I always do.

Here’s To us.

It hasn’t always been easy, or anywhere close to perfect.. but thanks for hanging in there with me; for teaching me to be strong, capable, fearless and brave. Because of you, I know how to be independent, I know how to drive (sort of), and I know how to allow someone to complement me but not complete me. I know that I am a whole person; unique, competent and full. I know that doing what is right always comes at a price, but it is always worth it. I know that life will come full circle no matter what I may face. I see the purpose in pain. I will appreciate people for the love and the lessons they bring into my life. I will not take a beautiful soul for granted. I will always come out of the battle stronger than when I went in with you right beside me. I will always take the high road and count my blessings daily, and it is because of the mom who had to be Both.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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What Rescuing a Dog Taught Me About My Future

She was a real pain to begin with, but I wouldn't give her up for the world now.

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My first dog came from a breeder to us when he was just a puppy. I was in third grade so we were both young together. I remember stepping off of the bus and seeing him curled up in my mom's arms. His breed, a Cavalier King Charles, is a highly sought after dog for their small size and beautiful markings. However, dog breeding can lead to medical complications down the line. Heart murmurs are very frequent as cavaliers get older. When he turned 9 years old, they were already detecting the beginning of a heart murmur in him. But my second dog didn't come to us in quite the same way.

Willow was about a year old. She was rescued from an abusive home where she had to fight for her food from many other dogs. This made her guard resources and distrustful of us. My mom and I begged the rest of our family for the ability to adopt her, and they finally agreed. Being not potty trained, we had to teach her with a lot of positive encouragement when she went pee in the right place (not our carpet). It took her a while to realize that we weren't going to take her food away and she gradually became less resource guarding. She started to trust my other dog more and play with him. A lot of the time, they even snuggle together now.

At the time, I was in my junior year of high school and still thinking about the idea of becoming a veterinarian. She helped me decide to go for it, and now I'm in college and getting ready to apply for veterinary school. Willow has become part of our family, and her funny and unique personality fit right in with us.

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