Imagine having to make a decision between the person you married and the baby you are carrying. Now imagine making a choice to leave a relationship of 10+ years. I know a strong woman who made this decision. This woman decided that the baby mattered more than the relationship with a man. However, this baby was not healthy. This baby was born with heart issues amongst many more issues.

This courageous woman is my mother. My mother dealt with so much in life, including raising me who had so many health issues. There were times where I did take advantage of or get angry at things. I was young and never saw the big picture in life (I still struggle with that). My mom worked three different jobs. She moved me out of a neighborhood she didn’t think was appropriate to a neighborhood with my family where she felt was better. I didn’t like the idea of moving schools, especially because I am an only child. I am so very glad that she did make that decision to change neighborhoods. This new neighborhood gave me opportunities that are beyond my wildest dreams. I never realized how much she worked or what she meant when she said “I am tired." I used to think that it was me or that she didn’t care, but that was further from the truth. She was so busy trying to provide a roof over my head and food in my stomach to the point where she was physically and mentally exhausted.

Although she may be always tired she taught me many things in life. She taught what true unconditional love is, discipline and to always fight/strive for my goals. It wasn’t until recently where I was talking to her and I saw her for the first time. She didn’t look as strong and angry as I have always saw her, but she looked fragile and loving. It saddens me that time has passed so fast. Tomorrow isn’t a promise, and I try to remember that daily. The biggest quote I hold strong to that she has taught me throughout my life, specifically my teenage years is, “It’s not the struggle or challenge that you’re in, rather it’s how you rise above them that matter more." When I think about this quote, she did exactly that. She left the pain and hurt from my father, to raise me (who at times gave her pain and hurt). To this very day she is always teaching me something new, even with me being stubborn thinking I know it all.

I don’t say I love you or I thank you as much as I should. But to the woman who did, thank you for showing me who I want to be when I grow up. I hope to one day be as strong as you are. To all those reading, hug your family members. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

I am so grateful to have you in my life, Mom! My life simply would not be the same without you.

-A stubborn daughter who is learning