I will never fully understand the way my parents love me. Maybe one day, when I have a kid of my own, it will make more sense. Even though we fight sometimes or I make the wrong decisions that disappoint them, they always go back to "we will support you in your dreams." I wish more people had parents like that or maybe more families had the resources to do so. True love to me has always been about putting someone else's needs before yours and my parents do that every single day. True love is also the way my parents sent me on a year mission trip and gave my life to the hands of God.

I am thankful for the endless back tickles my mom would give me from ages 1 to 21, the times she would go out of her way to pick me up something from the store because I was too lazy to do it myself, the way she would build me up after every loss and bear hug me after every win, and the way I could tell her everything about my life and receive no judgment.

Photo by @ranz.photo

I am thankful for the sarcasm my dad and I would pass back and forward, the way he cried saying goodbye to me for the last time in 2019, the way he would carry every single bag in every store without complaining, and the way he would prepare me for every pageant interview by taking his time to quiz me on politics and current events.

I wish I could go back in time to high school during the "my parents are annoying" stage and let them know they are everything but annoying. I try to encourage other parents with high-schoolers that it does get better when they graduate. I call my mom about every day now just to talk about a meal I had or drama in my friend group. My favorite part is that she always listens and takes my side.

I'm at the stage of my life where I am realizing how hard it must be for my parents to basically "set me free." Sending your child to live in hostels or camps in different countries for a full year is no joke, yet they supported me during the entire process. Not all parents can let their children go that easily, but I am lucky that my parents love me enough to let me see what God has in store for me.

Photo by @ranz.photo

This was a thank you note to my parents. Thank you for being my best friends more than just parents. Thank you for letting me call you at all hours for no absolute reason. I hope I can raise my kids like you have and be half the parent that you are if I ever find a man you think is good enough for your little girl to marry ;)

Please hug your parents close tonight since I won't get to hug mine for 9 more months. That quality time to your parents is more important to them than you may think.