With graduation less than a month away, I have found myself reflecting on my childhood and young adulthood. I figured the best way to capture these parts of my life was to write an open thank you letter to my parents.

Mom and Dad,

Thank you. Thank you for being incredible parents and role models. I know it didn’t always seem this way, but I admire everything about you and hope that I can be like you both throughout my life.

Thank you for being patient with me. I know I definitely didn’t make it easy, but both of you showed me so much compassion through some rough times and supported me no matter what.

Thank you for always having my back. Growing up is hard and knowing that I have two very strong people to catch me if I fall is so comforting. By always having my back, you both have encouraged me to take risks I would have never taken otherwise, and I’m definitely a better person for it.

Thank you for letting me try anything. I definitely wasn’t a “normal” girl-I was and always will be a super tomboy. You encouraged me to try anything that I was interested in. This ultimately led me to make one of my dreams a reality and become a football coach for a little bit. If it weren’t for you encouraging me to try anything and everything, I would have never done that.

Thank you for loving each other very much. You have given me a great example of what a happy marriage looks like and that has enabled me to find someone that makes me very happy. And thank you for loving him like he’s your own child. We both appreciate that more than you will ever know.

Thank you for instilling a strong work ethic in me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if you didn’t push me to try my hardest in everything that I do.

Because of you, I am graduating on time and will be starting a full-time job immediately after graduation. Because of you, I’m starting my life after school ready for success and incredibly happy.

Thank you for being you. I love you both very much.

Anna