My parents are everything to me. They raised me to be independent, strong, smart, and hard working. They made sure to keep me in line, to ensure that I would be respectful and responsible. They raised me to be prepared for the world before I graduated high school. For everything they've done, I'm very grateful.

Focusing on my mom more specifically, she is my weakness. By that I mean, I can go to her with anything and I know she's willing to listen, to be open, and she won't impart judgment.

My mom always knows how to calm me down, but she is the one person who can also make me cry harder. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that whenever I've had a tough day or my anxiety has been heightened by some ordeal, I know that if I see my mom or if I even call her over the phone, the waterworks come flooding. I don't know what it is about my mom that makes me feel so emotional, so vulnerable. Each time I go to her, it's almost as if I'm a kid again, crawling into her mother's arms, seeking a nurturing soul to tell me that everything will be okay.

Sometimes I even avoid calling my mom when I'm in a rut because I refuse to cry or feel weak. For instance, if I had a problem, I'd avoid talking to her about it. If a week goes by, I'll update her on my problems, and begin crying about it (even though I was already over it beforehand). My mom can bring out anything from me. She laughs when I tell her this because she knows that no matter how old her baby girl gets, she'll always need her mama.

I think as I've gotten older, I've realized how much more my parents mean to me. As a kid, I always felt like they were against me. I felt as if they didn't want me to do anything and didn't want me to grow. As an adult, I realize it's the exact opposite. My parents have always wanted what's best for me, and because I've grown to understand this, I feel so much closer to them.

I feel as though now, although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend. She's someone I can go to when I feel down, someone I can go to for a good laugh. She's so much better than me in so many ways. She's outgoing, loud, obnoxious, smart, and is always seeing the good in situations. When I talk about my mom to other people, they're always so interested in meeting with her or talking with her. When they finally get the chance to, they're instantly drawn to her character. They're drawn to her laughter. I kid you not, my mom can light up a room in seconds. She is always the life of the party. It sometimes makes me jealous when people find out how amazing my mother is because I swear they'd rather be friends with her than me.

What people don't see is her struggles. They don't see the pain she goes through with her ongoing injury. They don't see that not only does it take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll. She hides it really well because that's what parents are "supposed to do." My mom is the strongest person I know and to see the two contrasts of her is astonishing. To think that someone so full of life can also battle personal struggles, it's hard to see, especially because she's my mom and all I want is the best for her. One part of my mom struggles while the other part of her is so vibrant, so full of life, so sassy.

I don't know how she's put up with all of the hardships in her life. I've never seen someone work so hard and refuse to fail. She refuses to be taken advantage of. I've never seen someone as amazing as my mother. She can do anything.

I think my mom looks down on herself sometimes. I think, like any woman, she sees imperfections. What I don't think she sees, that I wish she would, is the tenacity she has. I want her to see herself the way I do: beautiful, strong, courageous, sassy, outgoing. I could go on and on about how much my mom inspires me and how she's made me appreciate her in more ways than one.

Mom, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I hope you know how much Rachel, Vanessa and I all love you. I hope you know that no matter what struggles we go through, you are our rock. You hold the fort down and you're always there to make sure we're good, even when you aren't yourself. Thank you for always thinking of us, for believing in us, and for never turning your back. I love you more than you know.