As we get older, we begin to make more connections and realizations. I’m not saying it took me a year and a half of group living to get “my mom knows best” to sink in, but I think it did play a part.

Anyway, I never thought I would say, “Thank you mom!” as much as I have in the last two months.

Actually living on your own, with another human being, who you are not related to and without familial obligation to live with, who shares responsibilities like taking out the trash, loading and emptying the dishwasher, and keeping things clean can give you a reality check.

I’ve learned a lot by my new living experience, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I should be thanking my mom for a lot.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me what I know.

I want to thank my mom for always nagging me to clean up after myself (rinse my dirty dishes, wipe my bathroom counter often).

I want to thank my mom for actually teaching me some work ethic.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me how to clean… like, really clean, not just wipe stuff off and pretend it is clean.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me how to get a red sauce stains out of a white shirt and how to prevent those gross sweat stains from magically appearing on white clothes.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me how to do my laundry properly, and helping me understand how long it takes for items to dry properly.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me the value of the dollar, whether that be in the grocery store or when I leave the lights on in a room I’m not in.

I want to thank my mom for helping me understand when to buy name brand and when to buy generic, because if there is something I can get across in this column other than the fact that mothers or maternal figures are the best thing to grace this planet, it is that the dollar and 50 cents extra you will spend on a box of Hefty trash bags compared to the generic brand will make all the difference in the world.

I want to thank my mom for telling me to figure out how long I needed to microwave something so I could learn on my own, skills I’m using now.

I want to thank my mom for laughing at me when I accidentally made 10 pounds of mashed potatoes and for teaching me the value of freezing your leftovers.

I want to thank my mom for allowing me to make a huge mess in her kitchen and making me clean it up, knowing that I would someday have to do it in my own kitchen.

I want to thank my mom for keeping random Tupperware containers for me to use in college.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me how to sew a button on a shirt and how to use a needle and thread for a simple fix.

I want to thank my mom for teaching me the value of an iron, or at the least the dryer and a wet towel.

I want to thank my mom for letting me live my life while guiding me the best she could.

I want to thank my mom for every minute she put into building me into the human I am today.

Looking back, I regret not being more grateful for my mom and the many lessons she taught me and many more I will surely realize in days and years to come. Some, I sure didn’t know I was learning at the time, however, at least I can thank her today and yesterday and the day before that, as well as tomorrow and every day after.

Thank you, mom!