It wasn't until I got to college that I realized that a lot of people my age have a very poor relationship with their parents. Most days of the week, sometimes even all, they don't speak to their parents. The idea of going home over breaks and seeing their family is more hurtful than exciting to them. College is their safe haven simply because their parents aren't there.

That fact pains my heart because throughout every hardship I've faced in my life, my family, including my mom and my dad, have been the only ones unconditionally there for me. Even on the best of days, they were there to make me smile even wider. Knowing that it's pretty rare to have a relationship like I have with my parents makes me all the more grateful for the both of them.

I couldn't imagine a life without having a strong bond with my mom and dad. I love my parents as a moody, hormonal, teenage girl the same way I did when I was five years old. They've always been the people I could turn to for advice, a laugh, or anything else I may need. I know that they would do literally anything for me, and I would do the same.

We occasionally bicker like all teenage daughters and parents do, of course, but I couldn't imagine my parents not being the most important people in my life. I've heard so many stories of adult women who don't speak to their parents, meaning that their children will grow to never know their grandparents, and I always assure myself that I won't be like that.

I plan to always maintain this close relationship with my parents and I wouldn't change anything about it. When thinking about my future, I imagine living within a distance that I can still see them very often because I'll always be their baby girl. They'll always be my parents and even at age 50, I'll rely on them to tell me what to do when I'm in a pickle or cheer me up when I'm having a hard day.

It also wasn't until I began college that I truly grew to appreciate everything my parents have done for me, and that's one thing I will always be grateful to college for. Yes, I'm referring to laundry, preparing meals, and cleaning up the house, but more importantly, I grew extremely thankful that my parents are my best friends.

Moving into and attending college has honestly been the most stressful part of my life so far, and my parents made the experience many times easier for me by always providing someone to talk to when the pressure gets to be too much and reminding me that they'll always be there for me no matter what the outcome of my test scores are.

I'm aware that it's very cliché, but my parents truly have shaped me into who I am today.

They taught me what it means to be kind, humble, a good friend, and so much more. These lessons and the constant love they provide me are things I could never repay them for, but I hope that they're aware of how extremely grateful I am to have been blessed with parents like them.

When I'm a parent, I hope that my children will love me even half as much as I love my mom and dad. I hope I have as close of a relationship with my daughter or son as I have with my parents.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.