Ever since I was little, you fought for me. Granted, every mother fights for their child (or should). But you? You went through so much before I ever became a factor in your life and it made you strong, yet terrified- even though you might never admit it. But once I was here, you knew that that was it. This is what God had intended for you. You knew that your job was to raise and love me with all your heart, and strive to be the best mom that you could be. And you succeeded.

Despite everything that was, and still is, thrown at you, you always managed to stay strong, fight through it all and win. The amount of strength that you have is unbelievable and I honestly have no idea how you do everything you do. All I do know is that you are a force to be reckoned with. Nothing can stand in your way because one way or another, you'll get it taken care of and try your damnedest for perfection.

I also know that raising me wasn't easy. After all, you're right. I'm my father's daughter. I sometimes focus on a tiny detail rather than the big picture, or I say and do things that are beyond stupid. But I'm your daughter too; the relentless attitude, sarcasm, and smartass-ness are 100% you, and even you can't deny that- well you could, but we both know it be bullshit. Regardless, you've never given up. Despite the terrible things I've said to or about you (that you eventually heard directly), I want you to know that in my heart, I didn't mean it. I never have. (Aside from the smidgen of things that you've admitted yourself). I know you know that, but that doesn't make it excusable. Everyone knows raising a daughter isn't easy, and all moms know that they'll eventually be the bad guy in any situation but you always pushed through it. I have to commend you for that.

You were always there, supporting everything that I did and helped every chance you could. All the way through those stupid choir concerts in elementary school that sound God awful, spelling bees, band concerts, performances during football games, marching band and colorguard contests, solo and ensemble, dress shopping for banquets and proms (including having to deal with Band Boosters and other incompetent band parents), high school graduation, college move in/out days, college performances, cheering me on as a member of the rowdiest student organization OSU has to offer, and eventually my soon-to-come college graduation. All this, with every little thing in-between.

You rode my ass through school to make sure I did well, and hell, you still do and I'm in college. True, I did the physical work, but you constantly made sure my head was it the right place. You've always had my back, even when I thought you didn't. If I ever seemed like I was veering off in a different direction, you managed to guide me back to where I needed to be to achieve. All you've ever wanted was for me to succeed. Because of your encouragement, guidance, and pushing me to be the best I can be, I'm attending my dream school and chasing after the profession that I've always wanted.

--

But let's pretend none of that matters for a second.

Regardless of all that, I hope you know that I'm thankful to have you. You. I'm thankful for all the things you've done, sure, but I'm beyond grateful that you are my mom. If I had anyone else, I don't know who or where I would be. I would expect to be the polar opposite of who I am now, if I'm being honest. But I like the person I've become. I like what I'm doing and what I've achieved. The only reason I've gotten as far as I have is because of you. Yes, I have my own drive but you are the one that made it so strong, academically and otherwise. And yes, I have dad and memee that contributed and were there as much as they could be, but at the end of the day they're not you.

We may have gone through constant battles with each other in the past, but now they're far and few between. As I've grown and become more mature, we've become closer and that'll continue. They always say that daughters grow up to be their mothers, and all I can say is "I hope that's true".

You are independent, intelligent, loving, caring, beautiful, responsible, respectable, funny, protective, brave, loyal, and most importantly: strong.

And don't you dare let anyone tell you otherwise.

I can only hope that when I'm older, I'll be like you. I know I'm already on my way, but that doesn't change the fact that I have big shoes to fill. I hope I'll be at least half the woman and mother that you are. And when the time comes for you to pass the torch, I hope I'm ready, worthy, and strong enough to take on everything you have.

But let's avoid that for as long as possible please.

This, admittedly, doesn't express my complete appreciation for you; nor does it express the fear of eventually losing you. I hope and pray that day doesn't come for a while. I can't imagine not be able to call or surprise you on the weekends. But again, let's avoid that for as long as possible.

I sincerely hope you know how much I appreciate you and everything you've done and sacrificed for me. I hope you know that you are the reason that I've made it as far as I have. I hope you know that you're the reason I keep striving to be the best I can, not only for myself, but because you did the same thing for me time and time again. I hope I'm making you proud and plan to never stop trying.

But most importantly, I hope you know how much I love you.