Things aren't perfect all of the time, you know that. And when they're anything less, you're there. Sometimes I'm happy, and sometimes I hurt. When I hurt, you're there. I'm not sure how you did it. I'm a full time job. I don't always say "please," nor do I apologize every time I'm wrong. And I'm sorry for that.

You have to understand that I am aware of everything you have done to keep me smiling and afloat. I know that you have let me hate you in order to teach me a lesson (and I've never really hated you). I know that you probably felt more pain than I did when you had to listen me cry myself to sleep. I also know that you couldn't have done a better job of allowing me to grow up showered in unconditional love.

I'm sure it wasn't easy to love me all of the time. I'm sure that some days I gave you a real run for your money. Just so you know, you were never deserving of any of that nonsense. I was just a kid, and unfortunately, it takes some maturing to understand why your mom does some of the things she does at times. But, it's clear now that I owe you everything and more...and a lot of wine.

I hear more and more that I look and act just like you. We have the same humor and the same temper. We don't have patience, and our language can be quite colorful. We are stubborn, but won't ever go to bed without apologizing first. We're also kind and understanding. We believe in second chances and have a strong head on our shoulders. There's no one else I would rather relate to or have as a best friend.

I hope that one say my son or daughter and I will have the same type of relationship that we do. I hope they lean on me the way I lean on you. And I hope that they learn to appreciate all the sacrifices a mother makes for their children the way I have learned to appreciate yours. I know that you do your very best for me, and I intend to do my very best for them one day.

Thank you for teaching me about love and kindness. Thank you for keeping me on the right path even when I fought to go the opposite way. Thank you for allowing me to live my own life while making sure I stay grounded. Growing up isn't easy. But you made it as simple as you possibly could. I had an incredible childhood and because of that, adulthood will be even better.

I truly pray that every child gets to experience the friendship and guidance that you have provided to me. And I pray that every mother is a good to their sons and daughters as you are to me. You are my life's gift, and it's completely priceless.

Thank you for being you.

And thank you for being my mom.

I love you always,

Gina