I wanted to write something special to you but never had the words to describe what I want to say. I know we did not see eye to eye for a long time as I was growing up. It took a lot for us to realize that we needed to stop and fix our relationship. Even though it did not happen overnight and there are still things we are learning about each other: I’m glad things have changed.
I guess, ultimately, the words I want to say to you most is thank you. Thank you for being you.
You often referred to your younger self as a mouse. But I have never seen it that way. To me, you were humble. You taught me to listen first. You taught me compromise. You taught me the importance of the lives of those around me.
You showed me the importance of creativity and passion. I am blessed to have grown up with a mother that encouraged me to read, draw, and even write. You framed scribbles as if they were Van Gho, listened to silly songs, and you went to every dance, cheer, theatre, and orchestra recital no matter what.
You have also taught me to be strong. You taught me—in your own way—to push myself and to always expect more of myself because I deserved more. You instilled this drive in me for success that is unique to us.
You often say I have done so much more than you did when you were my age. Mom, I disagree. You paved your own path as one of the first of your siblings to go away for college. You did it working every hour of the day—either at your jobs or school. You had your relationship struggles, you had your family struggles. And despite all of that, you persevered and flourished.
You gave a lot for my brother and I. You packed lunches and cooked for picky eaters; you managed our household and worked a full time job through most of it all. You encouraged us to do things that you had never done. You inspired us. You never took no for an answer.
Photo: Marisa Lopez
You never discouraged my curiosity. You never said there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I wasn’t willing to put in the work. And you never accepted below what you believed I had the ability to accomplish. And even though I dreaded the strict expectations you had, I realize that I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have if you’d been lenient in any way.
As I look back on our relationship up until now, I’m thankful for every moment we have shared: the good, bad, and ugly. Because of each of those moments, I have been shaped to the woman I am today. You continue to inspire me with your ambition and compassion, and your drive and desire to move forward.
I may not be a little girl anymore, Mom, but I still look up to you every day. I still admire everything you have done and continue to do. I can only hope I will grow to be half the woman you are today.